Hedge funds’ net long positions in US natural gas futures and options contracts rose 50% to 164,450 on January 16–23, 2018. The net long positions also increased by 25,261 contracts or 18% from a year ago. Natural gas (UNG) prices increased ~10% on January 16–23, 2018.
March US natural gas futures contracts were below their 100-day, 50-day, and 20-day moving averages on February 1, 2018, which suggests that prices could trend lower.
What could drive natural gas futures?
A cold weather forecast and a larger-than-expected withdrawal in US natural gas inventories compared to historical averages could favor natural gas prices. However, mild weather forecasts and an increase in natural gas production could pressure prices.
US natural gas prices averaged $2.99 in 2017. Prices could average $2.88 per MMBtu in 2018 and $2.92 per MMBtu in 2019, according to the EIA. The expectation of a rise in US natural gas demand and exports will favor natural gas prices in 2019.
Read OPEC’s Compliance and US Oil Production Could Move Oil Prices for the latest updates on crude oil.