US natural gas’s implied volatility
As you can see in the above graph, natural gas’s price and implied volatility were broadly inversely related. When prices rose steadily, implied volatility tended to fall. On the other hand, sharp falls in prices led to spikes in implied volatility. However, between December 2016 and February 2017, natural gas prices fell steadily. The slow and steady nature of the fall caused implied volatility to fall.
Natural gas’s implied volatility rose to 56.2% on November 14, 2016. Since then, it has fallen 38.4%, while natural gas prices have risen 16%. Last week, natural gas May futures rose 1.2%. Natural gas’s implied volatility fell 1.2% during the week.
This analysis could be important for natural-gas-tracking ETFs such as the ProShares Ultra Bloomberg Natural Gas (BOIL), the Direxion Daily Natural Gas Related Bear 3X ETF (GASX), the United States Natural Gas ETF (UNG), and the Direxion Daily Natural Gas Related Bull 3X ETF (GASL).
Natural gas price forecast
On the basis of a normally distributed bell curve, applying a standard deviation of 1.0 and an implied volatility of 34.6%, natural gas May futures could close between $3.04 and $3.34 per MMBtu (million British thermal units) in the next seven days. The probability of natural gas prices in this price range over the next week is 68.0%. On March 31, 2017, natural gas May futures closed at $3.19 per MMBtu.
So while natural gas will likely hold the crucial level of $3 this week, the $3.30 level looks possible. Fundamental data could be the key factor.