Natural gas remains at mid-$2 mark, finishing April up 9% By


© Reuters. — Natural gas futures returned to the green for April, finishing the month up nearly 9% while staying stuck to the mid-$2 level that has largely characterized this year’s pricing for America’s favorite temperature control fuel.

The most-active on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Henry Hub settled Friday’s trade up 5.5 cents, or 2.3%, at $2.41 per mmBtu, or metric million British thermal units. For the week, June gas was flat while for the month it rose 8.8%.

The uptick in gas prices came after the latest weekly storage data for the fuel landed not too far from market expectations.

U.S. gas for the week ended April 21 rose by 79 bcf, or billion cubic feet, the Energy Information Administration, or EIA, reported on Thursday. Industry analysts tracked by had projected an injection of 75 bcf for last week after all the burning done for power generation as well as for heating.

The latest weekly injection bumped up total gas inventories to 2.009 trillion cubic feet, or tcf, EIA records showed. At current levels, gas storage stands at 35% above the year-ago level of 1.484 tcf and 22% higher than the five-year average of 1.644 tcf.

The debate on when the bearish tide would irrevocably turn for ‘natty’ — as the all-season fuel for heating and cooling is known — has raged since gas prices began their headlong fall from 14-year highs of $10 per mmBtu in August.

At brief intervals this year, the market had appeared to be on a cusp of a serious rebound — like in late February when it got above $3 after breaking below $2 earlier that month for the first time since September 2020.

Since the start of 2023, however, gas has not made a forceful break amid the mid-$2 level, which technical chartists say is critical if the fuel is to make a new upward trajectory.

“Temperatures are likely to start to warm in May, but until warmer temperatures closer to the 10-year normal there will likely be subdued demand,” analysts at Houston-based energy markets advisory Gelber & Associates said in a note on gas.

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