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Natural Gas Plunges on EIA Report, El Nino Forecast

February 7, 2019 at 16:12 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are plunging on Thursday after the US government reported a smaller-than-expected weekly decline in domestic supplies. Natural gas prices were not helped after reports suggested that winter is over and an El Nino effect is coming – in other words, the subzero temperatures from the polar vortex will soon be a distant memory.

March natural gas futures tumbled $0.065, or 2.41%, to $2.59 per million British thermal units (btu) at 14:43 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas is already poised for a steep weekly decline of about 8%, bringing its year-to-date losses to just under 10%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories of natural gas slipped 237 billion cubic feet for the week ending February 1, which is smaller than the median estimates of 249 billion cubic feet. In total, stockpiles stand at 1.96 trillion cubic feet, which is down 135 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago and 415 billion below the five-year average.

What makes matters worse for the natural gas market is the weather.

Over the last couple of weeks, many parts of the US and Canada were engulfed in frigid temperatures, cratering to as low as -40 degrees Celsius. But that may just be a small hiccup in overall winter conditions as meteorologists are declaring a premature end to winter.

The general forecasts suggest that “winter is pretty much done.” There might be a brief cold spell in the US east, but the overall outlook for the nation prone to the havoc wreaked by Old Man Winter is warmer weather. This means that fewer households will require an immense supply of natural gas to heat their homes, a trend that might contribute to a swelling inventory.

Natural gas contracts heading into the summer may be in the red, too. Some forecasts are hinting at an El Nino pattern emerging, which typically creates cooler summers and sends demand lower.

In other energy commodities, March West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures slid $0.71, or 1.31%, to $53.30 per barrel. April Brent crude futures shed $0.41, or 0.65%, to $62.27 a barrel. March gasoline futures plummeted $0.02, or 1.58%, to $1.43 a gallon. March heating oil futures were down $0.005, or 0.27%, to $1.90 per gallon.

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2 Responses to “Natural Gas Plunges on EIA Report, El Nino Forecast”

  1. Rjengs

    So, is both oil and natural gas going in the same direction, downward?
    I’ve read a few reports and it seems the way.


    Andriy Moraru Reply:

    Sometimes they do go in the same direction due to correlation existing between these two energy commodities. However, the factors that affect the supply and demand of oil and natural gas are quite different.


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