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David Becker

Natural gas prices moved lower on Friday, dropping more than3% for the day and down 11% for the week. A larger than expected build in natural gas inventories, in conjunction with warmer than normal weather, has led prices lower. The weather over the next 8-14 days is expected to be warmer than normal according to the most recent report from the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration.

Technical Analysis

Natural gas prices tumbled more than 11% this week, keeping pace with the drop in the equity markets. A decline in LNG exports is reducing demand in conjunction with warmer than normal weather. Target support is the 2016 lows at 1.61. A break of this level would be a fresh low on natural gas prices. Resistance is seen near the 10-week moving average at 1.95.

Weekly momentum is negative as the MACD (moving average convergence divergence) histogram prints in the red with a downward sloping trajectory which points to lower prices. The fast stochastic generated a crossover sell signal in oversold territory. The current reading on the fast stochastic is 4.4, well below the oversold trigger level of 20 which could foreshadow a correction.

Th EIA reported that net withdrawal from storage totaled 143 Bcf for the week ending February 21, compared with the five-year average net withdrawal of 122 Bcf and last year’s net withdrawal of 167 Bcf during the same week. Working natural gas stocks totaled 2,200 Bcf, which is 179 Bcf more than the five-year average and 637 Bcf more than last year at this time. The average rate of withdrawal from storage is 9% lower than the five-year average so far in the withdrawal season. If the rate of withdrawal from storage matched the five-year average of 8.3 Bcf/d for the remainder of the withdrawal season, the total inventory would be 1,876 Bcf on March 31, which is 179 Bcf higher than the five-year average of 1,697 Bcf for that time of year.

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