Natural Gas Rallies on Larger-than-Expected US Supply Withdrawal

Natural gas futures are rallying on Thursday after the US government reported a much larger-than-expected supply withdrawal. The energy commodity has been enjoying small gains over the last week, with bulls beginning to build their positions ahead of the much-anticipated summer demand. Can natural gas sustain the momentum? Or will investors sell the mini-rally?

April natural gas futures surged $0.031, or 1.21%, to $2.589 per million British thermal units (btu) at 14:40 GMT on Thursday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas is on track for a weekly gain of 2%, bringing its year-to-date gain of more than 1%.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), domestic inventories of natural gas declined by 36 billion cubic feet for the week ending March 19. This beats the median estimate of -25 billion cubic feet and is also a larger supply withdrawal than last week’s 11 billion cubic feet.

In total, US supplies stand at 1.746 trillion cubic feet, down 263 billion cubic feet from last year. They are also 78 billion cubic feet below the five-year average.

Natural gas prices had been recording tepid gains in recent sessions, buoyed by strengthening demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) and declining supplies.

Europe has witnessed its LNG inventories decline, forcing nations to increase their appetite for US shipments of the energy commodity. Since spring maintenance work could impact LNG stocks in the coming weeks, this could offer support for natural gas prices over the next month.

Investors are ditching weather-driven trading patterns. The recent models suggest that mild weather will be prevalent across most of the US in the coming weeks. However, there could be upward movement on chilly rains and bouts of frigid temperatures over the next two weeks.

For now, the natural gas market will rely on the supply and demand fundamentals.

In other industry news, Saudi Arabia’s state-owned Saudi Aramco recorded the largest single-day production of natural gas in the nation’s history, with 10.7 billion cubic feet per day. Over the last couple of years, Riyadh has been attempting to become a major player in the natural gas market since most of the world is transitioning to the so-called bridge fuel.

In other energy commodities, April West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil futures tumbled $2.14, or 3.5%, to $59.04 per barrel. May Brent crude futures declined $1.92, or 2.99%, to $62.33 a barrel. April gasoline futures dropped $0.0464, or 2.33%, to $1.9411 per gallon. April heating oil futures plunged $0.0508, or 2.78%, to $1.7757 a gallon.

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Published under: Natural Gas

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