Speculators cut U.S. natgas net longs for 4th straight week: CFTC

Jun 19, 2017

U.S. natural gas speculators cut their net long positions for a fourth week in a row as stockpiles remain unusually high after one of the warmest winters on record, mild weather in the spring and a slow but steady increase in production.

Speculators in four major New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX) and Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) markets reduced bullish bets by 18,147 contracts to 278,994 in the week to June 13, its lowest since early March, the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission said on Friday.

That is the most consecutive weekly declines in net speculative longs since the end of February.

That compares with a five-year (2012-16) average speculative net long position of around 127,300. The biggest net long position was 456,475 in April 2013, while the biggest net short position was 166,165 in November 2015, according to Reuters data.

Gas futures on the NYMEX averaged $3.02 per million British thermal units during the five trading days ended June 13, the same as during the five trading days ended June 6.

Stockpiles were currently around 8 percent above-normal for this time of year.

That surplus occurred after utilities left excess gas in storage during one of the warmest winters on record and mild weather in the spring, reducing the threat of price spikes later in the year, according to analysts.

So far this week, U.S. production over the past 30-days averaged 71.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd), topping the same period in 2016 (71.4 bcfd) for the first time since March 2016.

Source: Reuters (Reporting by Scott DiSavino; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)