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Markets

U.S. natgas edges up as rising global prices seen boosting exports

  • The amount of gas flowing to U.S. LNG export plants averaged 10.9 bcfd so far in May, down from April's monthly record of 11.5 bcfd.
26 May, 2021

U.S. natural gas futures edged up on Tuesday on expectations a rise in global prices will boost U.S. exports back to record highs in the coming weeks.

That U.S. price gain came despite forecasts for milder weather, lower demand and a steady increase in output.

On their second to last day as the front-month, gas futures for June delivery rose 2.7 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $2.913 per million British thermal units. On Monday, the contract closed at its lowest since April 27 after declining for five days in a row.

The July contract, which will soon be the front-month, gained about 2 cents to $2.98 per mmBtu.

Data provider Refinitiv said gas output in the Lower 48 U.S. states averaged 90.9 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in May, up from 90.6 bcfd in April. That is still well below November 2019's monthly record of 95.4 bcfd.

With the milder weather on the horizon, Refinitiv projected average gas demand, including exports, would ease from 83.8 bcfd this week to 83.7 bcfd next week. Those forecasts were lower than Refinitiv predicted on Monday.

The amount of gas flowing to U.S. LNG export plants averaged 10.9 bcfd so far in May, down from April's monthly record of 11.5 bcfd.

The decline was due to short-term issues and normal spring maintenance at a few Gulf Coast plants and the gas pipelines that supply them.

But with European gas prices near their highest since September 2018 and Asian prices over $10 per mmBtu, analysts said they expect buyers around the world to keep purchasing near-record amounts of U.S. gas.

U.S. pipeline exports to Mexico, meanwhile, averaged 6.0 bcfd so far in May, just off April's monthly record of 6.1 bcfd, Refinitiv data showed.

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