Natural gas futures for December delivery ended the day down nearly 3% – prompting a flurry of sell-offs. After a minute rebound Thursday, prices struggled today and closed at $3.316 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. December futures have lost 12% of their value since they came on the board three weeks ago, and have been setting record lows with each drop.
The EIA reported that 19 BCF of gas was injected into storage last week, less than the market expectation of 27 BCF but more than normal for this time of year. Total storage now stands at an all-time record high level of 3.850 TCF, 6.2% above the 5-year average and 0.4% above last year for the same week.
Although natural-gas prices typically rebound heading into the winter months as residents of colder U.S. states draw on fuel stockpiles to heat their homes and businesses, most regions have enjoyed a warmer fall. As a result, the continually growing inventories have outpaced demand from natural gas-fired heating.
Mild weather forecasts continue to beat down the heating demand expectations for the next couple of weeks. Much of the country is experiencing temperatures from near average to 15 degrees above average. High temperatures throughout most of ERCOT are forecast to be well above normal for Saturday through Tuesday before cooling off into the 60’s and 70’s for the rest of the month.
In other energy news…ERCOT trades for today’s peak hours went through in the upper $20’s and off peak trades went through in the low $20’s. Forward heat rates were weak again today as summer 2012 was down about 50 ticks and summer 2013 was down about 40 ticks.
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