Natural Gas Fluctuates in New York Before Inventory Report

Natural gas futures fluctuated in New York before a government report today that may show a below-average inventory increase.

Gas moved between gains and losses as supplies may have expanded by 33 billion cubic feet to 1.737 trillion cubic feet in the week ended April 19, according to the median of 24 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The five-year average gain for the week is 50 billion. Mild early May weather will limit heating demand, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC.

“The onset of springlike weather seems to have taken some of the momentum out of the bulls,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker with Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “But today we’re expecting a smaller-than-average storage injection, so that might bring in another wave of speculative buying.”

Natural gas for May delivery fell 0.7 cent to $4.159 per million British thermal units at 9:19 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading was 45 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. Gas futures have advanced 24 percent this year.

Warmer weather across the Northeast through May 5 to May 9 will reduce heater use, according to a daily report from Commodity Weather in Bethesda, Maryland. Temperatures in New York will reach 74 degrees Fahrenheit (23 Celsius) on May 5, six degrees above average.

Bank of American Corp. raised its forecast for 2013 natural gas prices after strong demand for the heating fuel eliminated an inventory surplus. Gas will average $3.90 per million Btu, Sabine Schels, an analyst at the bank in London, said in an e-mailed report dated yesterday, raising her prediction from $3.75. Prices will drop to $3.50 this summer, she said. The bank maintained its 2014 forecast at $4.20.

The Energy Information Administration is scheduled to release its weekly gas stockpile report at 10:30 a.m. in Washington.

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