Natural gas futures hit a multi-year low on Friday, strongly suggesting the winter heating season is over and traders are ready to move on to the spring. Besides the weather, traders are also blaming the steep losses this week on coronavirus fears.
Another catalyst behind Friday’s rout is the loss of 22.3 gas-weighted heating degree days (gHDD) from the American model over the past 24 hours, according to forecaster DTN, which adjusted its latest forecast to warmer ahead of Friday’s opening.
At 14:39 GMT, April Natural Gas is trading $1.722, down $0.30 or -1.71%. The low of the session so far is $1.642.
U.S. Energy Information Administration Weekly Storage report
On Thursday, the EIA reported that domestic supplies of natural gas fell by 143 for the week-ending February 21. Total stocks now stand at 2,200 trillion cubic feet, up 637 billion cubic feet from a year ago, and 179 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said.
Going into the report, traders were looking for a larger-than-average withdrawal for the week-ending February 21.
A Bloomberg survey predicted withdrawals ranging from 145 Bcf to 165 Bcf, with a median of 156 Bcf. Polls by the Wall Street Journal and Reuters produced similar results, while NGI’s model projected a pull of 152 Bcf.
The EIA recorded a 167 Bcf draw for the similar week last year, while the five-year average withdrawal stands at 122 Bcf.
Now that the market has hit its multi-year low at $1.642 and winter has been officially put to bed (aside from a few pockets of cold weather than tend to pop up in March) speculators can kick back and relax. What this means is that a few of the major short-sellers are likely to start booking profits so there exists the possibility of a meaningful short-covering rally over the near-term.
Start watching for signs of a bottom like a lower-low, higher-close, commonly known as a closing price reversal bottom. Turning higher on a move over yesterday’s close at $1.752 can produce such a move.
Don’t get complacent if short. This market can turn higher in a hurry if the short-sellers start to take profits. The next rally may have nothing to do with the weather.