Higher Inventories Might Help Natural Gas Recover

Natural gas inventory data

In the week ending May 18, natural gas inventories rose by 91 Bcf (billion cubic feet) to 1,629 Bcf—based on the EIA’s (U.S. Energy Information Administration) data announced on May 24. The increase was 2 Bcf less than what a survey by S&P Global Platts expected. On May 24, natural gas July futures rose 0.5%.

Higher Inventories Might Help Natural Gas Recover

Inventories spread and natural gas prices

In the week ending May 18, the negative difference between natural gas inventories and their five-year average contracted by 1.2 percentage points compared to the previous week. The difference is called the “inventories spread.” For the week ending May 18, the inventories spread was at -23.4%.

In the week ending May 11, the inventories spread was at -24.6%. Natural gas prices are usually inversely related to the inventories spread.

On May 24–29, natural gas July futures fell 2.3%. On May 24, the EIA released the natural gas inventory report for the week ending May 18.

Since May 24, Chesapeake Energy (CHK), Cabot Oil & Gas (COG), and Range Resources’ (RRC) fell 5.9%, 1.9%, and 0.1%, respectively—the underperformers on our list of natural gas–weighted stocks.

On May 24–29, the Fidelity MSCI Energy Index ETF (FENY) and the iShares Global Energy ETF (IXC) fell 2.9% and 3.5%, respectively. These ETFs hold natural gas producer stocks.

Higher inventory levels

On May 31, the EIA is scheduled to release the natural gas inventory report for the week ending May 25. Any rise below 75 Bcf would push the inventories spread into the negative territory—a bullish factor for natural gas prices.