Natural Gas Keeps Gaining on Cold Weather

When volatility returned to the U.S. natural gas market this winter after years of sleepy trade, the wild price swings created unexpected winners and losers.

The coldest winter in two decades boosted heating demand to all-time highs, quickly reduced stockpiles and prompted the kind of sweeping highs and lows that the market has not seen since shale drilling began flooding the United States with gas in 2009.

The flatlined trading of recent years lured trend followers and global macro funds to place one-way bets on declining prices which resulted in giant losses this winter as prices spiked.

Meanwhile, smaller, nimble hedge funds who correctly bet that winter gas supplies would quickly diminish as power generators scrambled to find last minute supplies, ended January

with some of their best gains on record.

The sharp price moves have called into question the conventional wisdom that natural gas would remain in a narrow range for months due to ample supply and have left a number of traders and analysts wondering if the volatility is here to stay.

U.S. natural gas futures prices gained as much as 50 percent this year, breaking the $6 mark for the first time since 2010, a far cry from the $2 seen in 2012.

via Reuters

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Alfonso Esparza

Alfonso Esparza

Senior Currency Analyst at Market Pulse
Alfonso Esparza specializes in macro forex strategies for North American and major currency pairs. Upon joining OANDA in 2007, Alfonso Esparza established the MarketPulseFX blog and he has since written extensively about central banks and global economic and political trends. Alfonso has also worked as a professional currency trader focused on North America and emerging markets. He has been published by The MarketWatch, Reuters, the Wall Street Journal and The Globe and Mail, and he also appears regularly as a guest commentator on networks including Bloomberg and BNN. He holds a finance degree from the Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education (ITESM) and an MBA with a specialization on financial engineering and marketing from the University of Toronto.
Alfonso Esparza