Natural gas down 4% on profit-taking, ahead of bets for ‘another rally’

News Room — The bull run in natural gas paused Tuesday, giving back some 4% from a four-day rally. But analysts say the downside may not last, with demand for cooling likely to spike ahead of the July 4 Independence Day holiday which typically sees Americans partying at home and in their backyard as much as they take road trips.

“The market seems to be in flux right now with the price rally losing some momentum likely due in part to profit taking by some market players,” analysts at Houston-based energy markets advisory Gelber & Associates said in a note to their clients in natural gas.

But they also noted that “with the 4th of July happening in the middle of next week (Tuesday), producers are front loading maintenance to account for the holiday.”

Plants undergo early maintenance to prepare for July 4 demand spike

Gelber’s analysts estimate that about 1.5 billion cubic feet of daily gas production has been halted as plants underwent maintenance to prepare for ramped-up demand for the holiday and beyond, as summer progresses in earnest.

The on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Henry Hub settled down 10.3 cents, or 3.6%, at $2.789 per mmBtu, or metric million British thermal units.

The session low was $2.76, retreating from Monday’s intraday high of $2.936, which marked the loftiest level for a front-month contract on the hub since March.

It has been an interesting time for natural gas, with bulls managing to keep the market in the positive for four weeks in a row despite the U.S. Energy Information Administration, or EIA, reporting a higher-than-expected number for the fuel in the latest week.

With a near 25% gain for June, gas futures are headed for their best month in almost a year. The last time the market rallied more in a month was in July 2022, when it gained 46%.

While summer weather hasn’t hit its typical baking point across the country, cooling demand is inching up by the day, particularly in Texas. This has sparked realization in the trade that higher price lows might be more common than new bottoms.The lowest Henry Hub’s front-month got to in June was $2.138, versus its high of $2.935.

100F temperature, high power burns, low gas output make another rally “probable”

Temperatures in the South have reached 100+ degrees Fahrenheit earlier than expected and heat is expected to start permeating the entire lower 48 States in the coming weeks, Gelber’s analysts said earlier in the week.

In Tuesday’s note, they emphasized the bullish fundamental support for natural gas as power demand continues to grow while production of dry gas production drops.

“In addition to this, coal to gas fuel switching has been at record highs and will likely continue to be,” the analysts said, noting that power burns were likely to hit highs of more than 42 bcf per day on July 4.

“This fundamental bullish support has largely offset market profit taking and a continued bull rally seems probable in the short term,” they added.

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