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Natural Gas Prices Slide After Big Weekly Rise in US Supplies

October 4, 2018 at 15:42 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are tumbling on Thursday after the US government reported a larger-than-expected increase in domestic inventories. Despite the steep losses, natural gas prices remain on track for an immense weekly gain, adding to their impressive performance over the last month.

November natural gas futures plunged $0.07, or 2.02%, to $3.16 per million British thermal units (btu) at 15:18 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The energy commodity is still poised for a weekly advance of at least 3%, bringing its year-to-date gains to just under 11%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories of natural gas climbed by 98 billion cubic feet for the week ending September 28. This is higher than the initial market forecasts of 85 billion. In total, supplies stand at 2.866 trillion cubic feet, which is down 636 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago. They are also 607 billion below the five-year average.

On Wednesday, the Natural Gas Supply Association (NGSA) released its “2018–2019 Winter Outlook for Natural Gas,” forecasting that there will be record demand for natural gas this winter, which will be followed by record domestic output. The group does project below-average storage inventories, but it does note that production will help the natural gas market meet demand.

In other energy commodities, November gasoline futures fell $0.02, or 0.95%, to $2.11 per gallon. November heating oil futures slipped $0.02, or 0.83%, to $2.41 a gallon.

Earlier this week, the EIA reported that US crude oil supplies rose by eight million barrels, the biggest weekly increase in 2018. Gasoline stockpiles stumbled by 500,000 barrels and distillate inventories declined by 1.8 million barrels. US crude production levels remained above 11 million barrels per day (bpd).

US oil prices continued their descent on Thursday as November West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures shed $0.94, or 1.23%, to $75.53 per barrel. December Brent crude futures dropped $0.70, or 0.81%, to $85.59 a barrel.

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