MTECHTIPS:-Natural gas futures – weekly outlook: September 21 – 25
Natural gas futures slumped to the lowest level in more than three months on Friday, as market players weighed shifting weather forecasts to assess the outlook for U.S. demand and supply levels. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in October dropped 4.7 cents, or 1.77%, to end the week at $2.605 per million British thermal units. Futures hit an intraday low of $2.602, the weakest level since June 5. Meanwhile, the November contract slumped 5.2 cents, or 1.91%, to close at $2.676. For the week, natural gas prices lost 9.7 cents, or 3.27%. Demand for natural gas is expected to be moderate next week as cooler weather moves across the eastern part of the U.S. Meanwhile, weather in the west will be warmer before cooling off as the week progresses. Summer heat has waned and cooler temperatures beckon with the approach of autumn. Natural gas accounts for about a quarter of U.S. electricity generation. Data released Thursday showed that U.S. natural gas supplies rose broadly in line with market expectations last week. According to the Energy Information Administration, natural gas storage increased by 73 billion cubic feet, matching forecasts. Supplies rose by 90 billion cubic feet in the same week last year, while the five-year average change is an increase of 75 billion cubic feet. Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.334 trillion cubic feet, 15.8% higher than during the same week a year earlier and 4.1% above the five-year average for this time of year.