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Natural Gas Rallies As Supply Drop Meets Market Estimates

February 14, 2019 at 16:51 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are rising towards the end of the trading week after the US government reported a decline in domestic inventories that matched market expectations. Investors, meanwhile, are wondering if winter really has come to a premature end or if Old Man Winter is here to stay.

March natural gas futures advanced $0.025, or 0.97%, to $2.60 per million British thermal units (btu) at 15:24 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. While natural gas prices are on track for a modest weekly gain of about 1%, the energy commodity has tumbled nearly 10% so far this year. Over the last three months, natural gas has cratered 25%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic stockpiles of natural gas declined 78 billion cubic feet for the week ending February 8, which is in line with median estimates. In total, natural gas inventories stand at 1.882 trillion cubic feet, down 30 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago. They are also 333 billion below the five-year average.

Last week, citing several weather forecasts, it was reported that “winter is pretty much done.” After two weeks of temperatures falling to as low as -40 degrees Celsius, meteorologists forecast that aside from a brief cold spell in the east, temperatures will be warmer than normal. The latest weather models paint a milder end of February and, some experts are hinting that a El Nino pattern is forming, an event that creates warmer winters and cooler summers.

The development could be bad news for futures contracts, since there would be lower demand among households.

In other energy markets, March West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures dipped $0.15, or 0.28%, to $53.51 per barrel. April Brent crude futures tacked on $0.49, or 0.74%, to $64.09 a barrel. March gasoline futures added $0.02, or 1.4%, to $1.48 per gallon. March heating oil futures edged up $0.015, or 0.8%, to $1.95 a gallon.

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