US natural gas futures slip to 2-week low

26 Feb, 2021

NEW YORK: US natural gas futures slipped to a two-week low on Wednesday as the weather turns milder, heating demand declines and output rises after last week’s freeze. On its last day as the front-month, gas futures for March delivery fell 2.5 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $2.854 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), their lowest close since Feb. 9.

That put the front-month down for a fifth day in a row for the first time since November.

April futures, which will soon be the front-month, fell 5 cents to $2.80 per mmBtu.

Data provider Refinitiv said output in the Lower 48 US states has averaged 85.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in February. Traders noted that was down from 91.1 bcfd in January, due to massive freezing of wells and pipelines last week. Output hit an all-time monthly high of 95.4 bcfd in November 2019.

On a daily basis, production was on track to jump to 89.8 bcfd on Tuesday as the weather warms, its highest since Feb. 8. During last week’s freeze, daily output dropped as low as 72.9 bcfd on Feb. 17, the lowest since August 2017, according to Refinitiv data.

Analysts projected last week’s heavy heating demand will erase the long-standing surplus of gas in storage.

Stockpiles have remained above the five-year (2016-2020) average since the start of 2020 and were still 2.6% above that average during the week ended Feb. 12.

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