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Markets

US natural gas futures soar 10% to 7-year peak on bullish demand view

  • Front-month gas futures for October delivery leapt as much as 10% to $5.010 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), their highest since February 2014
08 Sep 2021

US natural gas futures jumped 10% on Wednesday driven by a bullish mix of expectations for higher demand due to warmer weather projections and sustained outages due to storm Ida while also tracking a rally in global gas prices.

Front-month gas futures for October delivery leapt as much as 10% to $5.010 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), their highest since February 2014, by 10:40 a.m. EDT (1440 GMT).

Analysts said a slow return to production post Ida in the Gulf of Mexico was also driving the price rally.

The surge is because weather models are again forecasting higher power weighted cooling degree days in the short-term forecast, and multiple regions in the US are still pretty hot; "there's a good demand story there," said Robert DiDona of Energy Ventures Analysis,

"Yesterday was a strong day in Europe and that ended up potentially bleeding into United States gas markets, and with where international prices are trading right now, net backs are massive, so we don't see any decline soon in US prices."

US natural gas retreats 3% as outlook turns cooler, Ida weakens

With European and Asian gas both trading over $18 per mmBtu, compared with just under $5 for the US fuel, analysts expect US liquefied natural gas exports to remain elevated.

Temperatures over the next two weeks are estimated to be warmer than usual for this time of year with 150 cooling degree days (CDDs) projected compared with a 30-year average of 122 CDDs for the period. This is also higher than the 10-year normal and the same time last year.

CDDs, used to estimate demand to cool homes and businesses, measure the number of degrees a day's average temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius).

"Mexico has been strong and they are pulling a lot of demand so the net export picture in the US should remain rather robust right on through the winter season," DiDona added.

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