United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNG) is cooling a bit after rallying for nine straight weeks. The ETF, which tracks natural gas futures, is down nearly 5% for the week.
Unlike other commodities, natural gas has been supported by strong domestic U.S. demand. Meanwhile, gas-related exchange traded funds have been rallying on the continued bullish outlook.
UNGhas gained 20.4% year-to-date and jumped 53.9% over the past year. [Natural Gas ETF Jumps Over 5%]
“Given the rising demand for cheaper energy by industrial users, the still bearish financial position on natural gas looks excessive,” Viktor Nossek, head of research at BOOST ETP, a European fund provider known for its leveraged strategies, said in a note. “In anticipation of more unwinding of shorts and a reversal towards net bullish positioning by investors further out, the upward price momentum is likely to last much longer.”
According to BOOST ETP, there is a 135,000 net short position on speculative natural gas options and futures contracts. In contrast, there are about 200,000 net long positions on WTI crude oil since the start of 2012, even with the recent pullback in crude oil. [Natural Gas ETF Captures Only Half of 120% Rally]
Nossek argues that the disparity between natural gas and oil positions has been overextended.
“As a result, the overly bearish position in natural gas is expected to reverse itself, hleping the rally in gas to sustain itself further out, possibly even after the end fo the cold streak that has hit the US Midwest of late,” Nossek added.
Moreover, Nossek argues that structural changes, notably greater industrial demand for cheap natural gas over coal, could give the commodity more fundamental price support. Since 2009, industrial sector’s energy consumption has expanded 6.4% even as demand from end users in other areas remained flat.
United States Natural Gas Fund
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Max Chen contributed to this article.