Natural gas prices plunged earlier this week in a move that looks like the final liquidation by investors who bet on a summer rally. The selling was strong enough to take out last November’s bottom which means bearish traders wiped out the entire winter rally.
Low demand has been and is expected to keep downside pressure on the market over the near-term with the majority of selling pressure to be on the nearby futures charts. Domestic demand for natural gas over the next two weeks is expected to fall into the moderate range, ending a three-week period of high demand.
Cooler air is expected to seep into the Midwest over the next few days then move slowly to usually high demand areas in the East and South. This should hold temperatures in a comfortable range as well as demand. It should also prevent near-term futures contracts from rally substantially.
On Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that U.S. natural gas stocks increased by 20 billion cubic feet for the week-ending July 28. Traders were looking for a reading of about 22 bcf.
The EIA draw may have been greater than the mid-point of the estimates, but it was not enough to get bullish traders excited enough to challenge the huge short position in the market. Besides, the data is stale and most traders are focusing on the two-week weather forecast that doesn’t bode well for bullish investors.
In other news, the EIA said the five-year average for the…