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Markets

US natgas futures drop over 5pc to six-week low on warmer forecasts

  • Front-month gas futures fell 15.6 cents, or 5.8%, to $2.556 per million British thermal units.
  • Data provider Refinitiv said output in the Lower 48 US states rose to 92.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) on Wednesday.
19 Nov 2020

US natural gas futures plunged over 5% to a six-week low on Thursday on forecasts for milder weather and less heating demand through early December and a continued rise in output.

That price drop also came ahead of a federal report expected to show an unusual mid November weekly injection into storage and despite record liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports.

Analysts said US utilities likely added 15 billion cubic feet (bcf) of gas into storage during the warmer-than-normal week ended Nov. 13. That compares with a decrease of 66 bcf during the same week last year and a five-year (2015-19) average withdrawal of 24 bcf.

If correct, last week's increase would boost stockpiles to 3.942 trillion cubic feet (tcf) or 5.8% above the five-year average of 3.727 tcf for this time of year.

Front-month gas futures fell 15.6 cents, or 5.8%, to $2.556 per million British thermal units at 9:17 a.m. EST (1417 GMT), putting the contract on track for its lowest close since Oct. 6.

Even though it's only November, traders noted warm weather so far this month has caused some in the market to give up on this winter and focus on next year.

Data provider Refinitiv said output in the Lower 48 US states rose to 92.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) on Wednesday, its highest in a day since April.

With milder weather coming, Refinitiv projected demand, including exports, would drop from 103.5 bcfd this week to 99.9 bcfd next week. That is lower than Refinitiv's forecasts on Wednesday.

The amount of gas flowing to US LNG export plants has averaged 10.0 bcfd so far in November, up from a five-month high of 7.7 bcfd in October, as rising prices in Europe and Asia in recent months have prompted global buyers to purchase more US gas.