Backed by early cash market strength ahead of what is expected to be a fairly frigid weekend, November natural gas futures thrusted higher in Friday trading Pushing higher for much of the day the prompt-month contract put in a high of $4.880 in the afternoon before closing out the regular session at $4.781, up 29.9 cents from Thursday’s finish but only 1.1 cents above the previous Friday’s close.
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Although heating load remains fairly strong across Canada and most of the northern half of the U.S. (and to some extent in parts of the South), the 29.2-cent downturn by November futures a day earlier had its expected effect of dragging most cash prices lower Wednesday.
October natural gas futures exploded higher on Thursday despite the news from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) that a fairly robust 69 Bcf was injected into underground natural gas storage for the week ending Sept. 4. The prompt-month contract reached a high of $3.278 before closing Thursday’s regular session at $3.256, up 42.7 cents from Wednesday’s close.
Natural gas futures turned in a fairly calm regular session on Wednesday as at least one trader hypothesized that the market was sidetracked by the much-publicized Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) hearing on position limits in the energy futures arena. The prompt-month contract closed Wednesday at $4.042, up 4.1 cents from Tuesday’s finish.
Prices continued to fall at nearly all points Monday as summertime cooling load was fairly light outside the southern third of the U.S. The previous Thursday’s downturn of 18 cents by August futures was a further negative influence on the cash market, and the return of industrial demand from a holiday weekend proved to have essentially no bullish impact.
Traders on Wednesday added more fuel to the range-bound trading argument as March natural gas futures traded in a fairly slim 18.7-cent range during the regular session between $4.533 and $4.720. The prompt-month contract ended up closing at $4.597, up 8.4 cents from Tuesday’s regular session finish.
After falling 20.3 cents on Wednesday and Thursday despite a winter freeze in a number of U.S. regions and a fairly bullish storage withdrawal, January natural gas futures continued the push on Friday by putting in a new low at $5.267 in afternoon trading before settling at $5.334, down 21.4 cents from Thursday’s finish and 15.4 cents lower than the previous week’s close.
Concerns related to Hurricane Ike’s path combined with fairly strong support to push natural gas futures higher to end the week. October natural gas on Friday closed at $7.449, up 12.7 cents from Thursday but 49.4 cents lower than the previous week’s close.
After a fairly lazy Monday in the markets, energy traders on Tuesday witnessed a shake-up as economic concerns in the United States spurred a significant liquidation in the liquids and natural gas futures. Despite storm uncertainty swirling in the Atlantic, August natural gas put in a low of $11.376 before closing at $11.477, down 48.2 cents from Monday’s finish.