The East coast is begrudgingly bracing for another polar blast, but natural gas exchange traded fund traders are welcoming the cold as the greater demand for the heating fuel pushed up prices and reduced inventories to the lowest in a decade.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNG) was 2.0% higher Friday after rising 6.3% over the past week.
According to the Energy Information Administration, natural gas inventories dipped 250 billion cubic feet to 1.443 trillion cubic feet in the week ended February 14, the lowest since 2004 for the period, reports Christine Buurma for Bloomberg. Stockpiles moved to a record deficit of 34% to the five-year average in the same period.
Looking ahead, MDA Weather Services forecasts lower-than-normal temperatures in the eastern two-thirds of the U.S. from Feb. 27 to March 7. AccuWeather Inc expects 14 degree temperatures on Feb. 27, or 13 degrees below average, and Cleveland could experience temperatures as low as 6 degrees, or 22 below average.
The EIA calculates that about 49% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, with the largest share from the Midwest.
“The same weather and inventory factors that propelled the market to five-year highs are holding,” Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy, said in the article. “The market has been looking really strong.”