June Natural Gas futures are in a position to post a strong gain for the week following a spike to the upside on May 11, following a smaller storage injection than forecast.
Since reaching a top at $3.422 the week-ending April 7, the market has straddled the middle of its December to March price range with traders hoping for a catalyst to trigger a move that would create some volatility. No one likes a choppy, two-sided trade.
The April to early May price action was typical for this time of year, however, because it’s not hot for increased demand from increased air-conditioner usage, and not too cool for heating demand. This low demand tends to support an increase in supply which weighs on prices and usually drives them lower into the start of the summer.
This year has been a little different from others. Although a lid may have been placed on the market the last five weeks, a floor has also been in place because of relatively low production.
Since the start of the year, U.S. production has remained at its lowest level in three years, averaging just 70.8 billion cubic feet per day during the past 30 days. That compares with 72.0 Bcf during the same period in 2016, 73.4 Bcf in 2015 and 67.9 Bcf in 2014.
In addition to the lower production, bullish traders have also been encouraged by stronger exports, particularly to Mexico. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicates that U.S. exports were expected to reach 7.3 Bcf the…