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Natural Gas Mar '17 (NGH17)

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Natural Gas Futures Market News and Commentary

Natural Gas Prices Settle Higher on Expectations for Above-Average U.S. Temps

Oct Nymex natural gas (NGV19) on Friday closed up by +0.040 (+1.55%). Nat-gas prices moved higher Friday, although they remained below Wednesday's 3-1/2 month high, on expectations for warmer U.S. temperatures after the Commodity Weather Group on Friday said temperatures will be above-normal across most of the lower 48 states through Sep 22. Nat-gas prices still have carry-over support from Thursday's EIA report that nat-gas inventories rose by 78 bcf, below expectations of 83 bcf, although still above the 5-year average of 73 bcf. High U.S. nat-gas production continues to be a bearish factor with lower-48 nat-gas production on Friday up +6.4% y/y at 91.303 bcf/d. Strong U.S. nat-gas output has caused U.S. nat-gas inventories to rise sharply in recent months to the current level of +14.6% y/y from -22.3% y/y in March. Thursday's weekly EIA nat-gas inventories rose by 78 bcf, which pushed nat-gas inventories up to a 9-1/2 month high of 3,019 bcf in the week of Sep 6. Inventories are up +14.5% y/y but are still -2.5% below the 5-year average. Big Picture Natural Gas Market Factors: Bullish factors include (1) solid demand from Mexico for U.S. nat-gas, (2) strong global natural gas demand due to firm global economic growth and the need to substitute for coal to reduce global CO2 emissions, and (3) significant U.S. LNG nat-gas export potential as more LNG ports are built in the U.S. and around the world. Bearish factors include (1) China's hike in its import tariff to 25% from 10% on U.S. LNG imports as of June 1, which effectively eliminated any Chinese buying of U.S. nat-gas, (2) high U.S. nat gas inventories that are up +14.5% y/y, and (3) near-record U.S. natural gas production.
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