Monday, November 19, 2012

Did Speculators Bail Too Soon on Natural Gas?

From Stephen Schork of The Schork Report....

Last Wednesday, Thursday and Friday spot CME natural gas futures tested the 2011-2012 Fibonacci 62% retracement at 3.806 (continuous contract), and each time the market closed its session below 3.800.

The bull’s latest rallying cry is last Thursday’s weekly storage update in which the EIA reported the first delivery of gas for the winter. However, as noted in the The Schork Report on Friday, a delivery at this point of the season is not unprecedented.

Be that as it may, after natural gas prices troughed in late August and peaked in the middle of October, open interest for the CME futures had declined by around 5%. Thus, the market has set ammo aside that can be (and perhaps already is) employed to push the market higher.

From the perspective of the term structure, the contango on the balance of winter strip to next summer narrowed from minus 0.111/Dth to minus 0.060/Dth last week. What’s more, as illustrated in today’s issue of the The Schork Report, weather for two-thirds of the country favor the bulls through the end of this month.

Did Speculators bail too soon on natural gas?

Per Friday’s CFTC report, the futures position in CME gas for producers rose by 5.4% to 40,101 net shorts. Over the last two months the short position held by producers has doubled. On the other side of the ring, the futures position in CME gas for speculators narrowed for a fourth straight week. As of last Tuesday, money manager’s length fell by 5% or 5,999 contracts, while their shorts dropped by 2½% or 3,936 contracts. As a result, their net position in the market has morphed from 43,045 longs (which was their 11th longest position recorded since the CFTC began disaggregating the data in 2006) to 2,583 shorts.

As far as this week’s technicals on the CME go, bids through last week's 3.830 high print clear a path towards $4 and our 4.005 weekly inflection point. Above here we will look for momentum towards our 4.220 upper limit. On the other hand, offers through last week's 3.650 midpoint alerts to follow through weakness towards our 3.575 lower inflection point. Offers below here clear a path towards our 3.360 weekly limit.

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