Natural Gas ETF Burns Brighter After Supply Miss

June 12th at 1:44pm by Max Chen

Natural gas prices and related exchange traded funds surged Thursday, experiencing their largest one-day move in almost two months, after new gas injections failed to impress.

The United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNG) jumped 4.8% Thursday.

NYMEX natural gas futures were up 4.9% Thursday, trading around $4.73 per million British thermal units.

According to the Energy Information Administration, producers pushed 107 billion cubic feet of gas into storage for the week ended June 6, compared to forecasts calling for an increase of 110 bcf, Investing reports.

Total natural gas storage was at 1.606 trillion cubic feet, or 727 bcf below last year’s level for the same period and 877 billion bcf below the five-year average of 2.483 trillion cubic feet for this period of the year.

Kyle Cooper, managing director of research at IAF Advisors, argues that at these levels, the market is vulnerable to price swings, reports Timothy Puko for the Wall Street Journal.

“Natural gas has some limits,” Cooper said. “When you grow a lot on the demand size, you have to have that supply. I think we’re in a lot more precarious position than some would like to believe.”

Looking ahead, producers will have to beat average storage additions by 20 to 35 bcf per week for six months to meet winter demand, according to Gelber & Associates. [Low Production Outlook is Supporting Natural Gas ETFs]

“People are worried about extreme weather in the summer and the winter and understand that because the storage is so low…there’s not much cushion to smooth out these weather events,” Aaron Calder, a senior market analyst at Gelber, said in the WSJ article. “People will have to pay through the nose if there’s a surge in demand.”

According to the CME Group data, the natural gas futures are currently trading in a slightly backwardated market – longer dated contracts are cheaper than near-term contracts. A futures-based commodity ETF, like UNG, would benefit if the underlying commodity is trading in backwardation. Since ETFs have to roll futures before maturity to avoid physical delivery of the commodity, a fund gains a profit every time it rolls to a cheaper later-dated futures contract in a backwardated market.

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