US natural gas’s implied volatility
As you can see in the graph above, 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 trending 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 42.7%, while natural gas prices have risen 19.2%. Between April 21 and April 28, 2017, natural gas June futures rose 2.6%. Natural gas’s implied volatility fell 1.8% during this period.
The above 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 32.2%, natural gas June futures could close between $3.13 and $3.42 per MMBtu (million British thermal unit) in the next seven days. The probability of natural gas prices closing in this price range over the next week is 68.0%. On April 28, 2017, natural gas June futures closed at $3.28 per MMBtu.
So natural gas could rise to $3.40, a level not seen since January 17, 2017. Fundamental data could be the key factor. Be sure to keep an eye on Market Realist’s natural gas coverage on Thursdays.