Natural gas futures rose following the release of government inventory figures showing an increase in working gas storage that was slightly less than what traders were expecting.
For the week ended Oct. 2, the Energy Information Administration reported a 95 Bcf injection in its 10:30 a.m. EDT release. November futures rose to a high of $2.530 after the number was released, and by 10:45 a.m. November was trading at $2.515, up 4.1 cents from Wednesday's settlement.
Prior to the release of the data, analysts were looking for an increase in the upper 90 Bcf area. Bentek Energy estimated 100 Bcf, utilizing its flow model, and ICAP Energy was figuring on a 97 Bcf build. A Reuters poll of 26 traders and analysts showed an average 98 Bcf with a range of 87-103 Bcf.
"We were trading at about $2.49 before the number came out, and once that number comes it's like a flash. If you are not looking up, you don't even see it," a New York floor trader told NGI. "The main consensus was 95 Bcf to 98 Bcf, but I think if you had seen around a 102 number this would have come off. If this market settles over $2.50 I would be surprised. For next week I am hearing numbers of like 96 Bcf."
Inventories now stand at 3,633 Bcf and are 433 Bcf greater than last year and 155 Bcf more than the five-year average. In the East Region 57 Bcf was injected, and the West Region saw inventories increase by 8 Bcf. Stocks in the Producing Region rose by 30 Bcf.
The Producing Region salt cavern storage figure was up 10 Bcf at 331 Bcf, while the non-salt cavern figure increased 21 Bcf to 932 Bcf.