Cooling the streak of price firmness exhibited on Monday and Tuesday, natural gas cash averages across the United States dropped for the second straight day on Friday as summer-like temperatures dominated much of the country and Thursday’s news of an early start to the storage injection season began to fully sink in.
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January natural gas managed a third straight day of nominal gains Thursday as traders largely discounted storage data that showed an ever increasing surplus with no end to the above-average increases in sight. At the close January had risen 1.4 cent to $3.169 and February had risen 0.8 cent to $3.206. February crude oil added 86 cents to $99.53/bbl.
For nearly two straight years U.S. natural gas output has climbed almost continuously — and 2012 could see even stronger growth, according to the energy team at Raymond James & Associates Inc.
Following three straight days during which cash prices nudged higher almost across the board, natural gas traded Thursday for Friday delivery was a mixed bag of minor pluses, minuses and a fair amount of points that went unchanged. Almost all of the additions or subtractions were by less than a nickel, potentially signaling just how content the market is with the current price point.
February natural gas futures scored a second straight double-digit advance Thursday as traders reacted to a bullish inventory report and were forced to cover short positions.
Cold weather trends managed to sustain a substantive cash rally into a second straight day for the first time in more than a week Thursday. Even a 3.4-cent retreat by December futures a day earlier failed to keep prices from rising by double digits at most points again.
November natural gas futures on Wednesday posted gains for a second straight day on what could be a round of technical buying, despite the arrival of natural gas storage injection data Thursday morning that is expected to be larger than both year-ago and five-year average comparisons for yet another week.
After dipping below $3.700 for a second straight day, natural gas futures showed a bit of a backbone Tuesday afternoon as the November contract rebounded a bit to close at $3.743, up 1.6 cents from Monday’s finish.
Natural gas futures pushed higher for a second straight day as the October contract tested $4 resistance on Wednesday before closing at $3.966, up 4.7 cents from Tuesday’s finish.