The United States Natural Gas Fund (NYSEArca: UNG), one of the most heavily traded natural gas exchange traded products, is off more than 32% year-to-date. While that slump may tempt some traders into thinking the commodity is due for a rebound, some analysts caution that natural gas is likely to remain downtrodden for awhile.
Around half of U.S. homes utilize natural gas for heat, driving up prices during the winter months when temperatures fall. Rising natural gas exports previously supported prices and draining the bloated stockpiles. Additionally, electricity companies are burning a record amount of gas, replacing coal demand.
“The supply curve is on the cusp of really starting to take off in response to a dry gas rig count in the U.S. that’s gone from 80 rigs to 189 rigs in the last 12 months,” Robert Raymond said in an interview with CNBC. “People are underestimating how much associated natural gas is really going to come out of a lot of the ‘oil shale wells’ as well.”
UNG currently labors 33.4% below its 52-week high and almost 14% below its 200-day moving average. The fund has not closed above its 200-day line since February.
Aggressive, risk-tolerant traders can exploit plummeting natural gas prices with leveraged exchange traded products such as the VelocityShares Daily 3x Inverse Natural Gas ETN (NYSEArca: DGAZ), which seeks to provide the daily inverse 3x or -300% performance of NYMEX natural gas futures. The ProShares UltraShort Bloomberg Natural Gas (NYSEArca: KOLD) provides the daily inverse 2x or -200% performance.
“We think there’s reasonable risk down to the $2.20 to $2.30 range,” noted Raymond, who added there’s additional risk for nat gas falling to $1.75 before the end of the year,” reports CNBC. “From current levels, a drop to $1.75 in the next three to six months would represent more than a 30 percent decline in price.”
UNG has added $96.5 million in new assets this year, including $42.1 million in the third quarter.
For more information on the natgas market, visit our natural gas category.