This article was originally published on ETFTrends.com.
Cold winter weather across is sending natural gas and the related exchange traded products to the upside. Among Monday's best-performing non-leveraged exchange traded funds was the United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) , which was up 11% in midday trading.
Last month, the Energy Information Administration revealed a slightly smaller-than-anticipated drawdown of 77 billion cubic feet, compared to the five-year average withdrawal of 79 Bcf–a supply that’s still higher than last year’s 59 Bcf pull. Total gas in storage fell to 2,914 Bcf, or 722 Bcf below last year and 723 Bcf below the five-year average.
“Updated forecasts show below-average temperatures persisting over the next two weeks, with the cold snap drifting eastward from the Midwest toward the East Coast,” reports CNBC. “Traders were anticipating the cold would linger, but weather models available last week didn’t give them the confidence to take long positions in natural gas futures heading into the weekend, according to Jacob Meisel, chief weather analyst at Bespoke Weather Services.”
Natural gas surged in the early stages of the fourth quarter amid expectations for cold winter temperatures in the U.S. Northeast, but that trade has unraveled in December.
It's Cold Outside
“Natural gas prices have been falling since the middle of December, following a spike above $4 per mmBtu in the fall. Hotter-than-usual late summer temperatures and a surprisingly cold fall increased demand for cooling and heating last year, causing natural gas stockpiles to fall to their lowest level in over a decade,” according to CNBC.
Natural gas futures strengthened as traders reacted to bullish weather forecasts for most of the U.S. over the next coming weeks, which should fuel heating demand. Natgas prices typically rise ahead of the winter as colder weather adds to heating demand, with November through March as the peak period for U.S. gas consumption, according to Investing.com.
“With natural gas inventories still 15 percent below the five-year average, investment bank Barclays sees room for higher prices even if weather normalizes during the rest of winter,” reports CNBC. “Barclays is currently forecasting Henry Hub prices to average $3.51 per mmBtu in the first quarter and $2.92 per mmBtu for the full year.”
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