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Market Summary: 31 Mar – 04 Apr 2014

The following is a summary of last week’s market activity and the market outlook:

  • Natural gas futures continued to seek direction last week, as the prompt month and the 12-mo strip each lost four cents, while calendar strips ‘15, ‘16, and ‘17 gained between one and three cents each.  The prompt month traded most of the week close to the $4.45/MMBtu support level, dipping as low as $4.27 and as high as $4.47.
  • Short-term weather forecasts show drastically shifting below and above-normal temperature patterns across the U.S. in the next two weeks, but increasing normal temperatures temper their effects as we move into an overall warming pattern for the shoulder months:

Days 1-5: Warm in the West, cool in the middle of the country from upper Midwest to Texas, normal across the Rockies and in the East.

Days 6-10: Warm expands to cover most of the Southwest from Oregon to Texas, cool recedes north to Canada, leaving most of Midwest, Southeast and East Coast at normal.

Days 11-15: Warm across West Coast and southern states, cool expands to cover most of northern U.S. from Montana to New England.

  • The EIA reported a withdrawal of 74 Bcf for the week ending March 28, 2014, which came in right on target with respect to projections, but less than last year (-95 Bcf) and greater than the five-year average (-8 Bcf).  Current inventory stands at 822 Bcf, which is 878 Bcf (51.6%) below last year, 992 (54.7%) below the 5-year average, and the lowest level seen since 2003 (642 Bcf).
  • Storage injections are expected to start with this week’s report for the week ended April 4, although the first addition to gas stockpiles is expected to be quite small (9 Bcf).  To erase the deficit during the April-October injection season, injections would need to exceed the 5-year average by 4.6 Bcf/day.