Indexology®: Natural Gas Is Backwardated

ETF Trends

>When I see a forecast of freezing weather, unlike most, I don’t think about how I will dress warmly or prepare for the cold.  As a commodity lady, I think about how much the price of natural gas will increase. However when I saw this on TV yesterday, I had more food for thought than just the price of natural gas.  Notice Friday’s high is listed as 18 degrees Fahrenheit (about -8 Celsius) while the low is listed as 19 degrees Fahrenheit (about -7 Celsius).

I only chuckled for a moment before thinking about natural gas again.   Natural gas has been the best performing commodity in the S&P GSCI so far in 2014, up 8.6%. It is also in backwardation with the spot only up 7.6% , which is relatively rare. You can see in this chart below that natural gas has been in backwardation in only 13% of months since 1994.  Also, it has only been in backwardation in 10 months within the past 10 years with an average premium of 39 basis points. That is about 60 basis points less than the premium thus far in January 2014.  What is less unusual about the backwardation is its January appearance since backwardation has always happened in extreme cold or heat.

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Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices. Data from Jan 1994 to Dec 2013. Past performance is not an indication of future results. This chart reflects hypothetical historical performance. Please see the Performance Disclosure at the end of this document for more information regarding the inherent limitations associated with backtested performance.

Source: S&P Dow Jones Indices. Data from Jan 1994 to Dec 2013. Past performance is not an indication of future results. This chart reflects hypothetical historical performance. Please see the Performance Disclosure at the end of this document for more information regarding the inherent limitations associated with backtested performance.

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