Natural gas futures climbed Thursday morning after the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported a storage injection that was less than what the market was expecting.
EIA reported a 39 Bcf storage injection for the week ending July 1 in its 10:30 a.m. EDT release, about 5 Bcf less than what traders were anticipating. August futures reached a high of $2.841 immediately after the figures were released, and by 10:45 a.m. August was trading at $2.830, up 4.4 cents from Wednesday's settlement.
"We had heard a 40 to 42 Bcf number so we got a little scooch up," said a New York floor trader after the number was released. "The market is holding well and it has a good base underneath. The longs at these levels are comfortable."
"The 39 Bcf net injection for last week was both somewhat less than expected and below the 78 Bcf five-year average benchmark, and so clearly a supportive outcome," said Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective.
"This second consecutive bullish-side miss moves the baseline for upcoming reports in a supportive direction as well. The counterbalance is that the 3,179 Bcf total was still a new record for the date and so while the market is becoming tighter, it remains a long way from tight."
Inventories now stand at 3,179 Bcf and are 538 Bcf greater than last year and 599 Bcf more than the five-year average. In the East Region 22 Bcf was injected, and the Midwest Region saw inventories increased by 22 Bcf also. Stocks in the Mountain Region rose 4 Bcf, and the Pacific Region was lower by 2 Bcf. The South Central Region fell by 7 Bcf.
Salt cavern storage was down 6 Bcf at 354 Bcf, while the non-salt cavern figure was unchanged at 893 Bcf.