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Natural Gas Pares Gains After Larger-Than-Expected Increase in Stockpiles

July 3, 2019 at 16:30 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are paring their early gains ahead of the Fourth of July holiday. The US government reported a larger-than-expected increase in domestic inventories, reversing the energy commodity’s ascent to $2.28. It was more bad news for natural gas midweek after a new report slammed the resource’s environmental impact, which could lead to more governments clamping down on the key energy source.

August natural gas futures rose $0.015, or 0.67%, to $2.255 per million British thermal units (btu) at 16:12 GMT on Wednesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas prices had been trading at $2.28 earlier in the trading session, before paring those gains. Contracts have been trading flat in the last week, but they are down 18% year-to-date.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories of natural gas surged by 89 billion cubic feet for the week ending June 28. This is higher than the market forecast of 80 billion cubic feet. In total, stockpiles stand at 2.390 trillion cubic feet, up 249 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago. They are also 152 billion below the five-year average.

The report came out one day earlier because of Independence Day.

On Wednesday, Global Energy Monitor, a non-governmental organization that tracks global fossil fuel infrastructure, released a new report, titled “The New Gas Boom.” The authors essentially concluded that natural gas is the new coal, suggesting that it is a larger contributor to climate change than originally believed, mainly due to leakage from the liquid natural gas (LNG) supply chain called fugitive gas.

This is an important report because global investment in natural gas has reached $2 trillion. The newfound love for natural gas is because of two reasons. The first is that it has been seen as a cheaper and cleaner alternative energy source. The second is that countries with an abundance of natural gas, mainly the US and Canada, are selling supplies that could satisfy demand for the next 300 years.

Meanwhile, the EIA also reported that crude oil inventories declined by 1.1 million barrels, gasoline supplies fell 1.6 million barrels, and distillate stockpiles climbed by 1.4 million barrels.

September West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures rose $0.35, or 0.62%, to $56.62 a barrel. August Brent crude futures tacked on $0.81, or 1.3%, to $63.21 per barrel. August gasoline futures soared $0.04, or 2.15%, to $1.91 a gallon. August heating oil futures edged up $0.01, or 0.67%, to $1.90 per gallon.

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