Natural gas is, perhaps, one of the most cyclical commodities in the space, as its demand and usage is heavily tied to seasonality. As a result, its price cycles for the past few decades have been somewhat predictable, even though it can be quite volatile day-to-day. Both of those factors combine to make it one of the most popular commodities traded on the market. 2013, however, looks like it may be moving away from its normal trend [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
As fracking continues to develop, with new reserves being discovered on a daily basis, the world has watched natural gas production surge. Though still a non-renewable resource, natural gas burns cleaner and is cheaper than crude oil. As the world looks to replace dated energy sources, natural gas figures to be an increasingly significant commodity. At the forefront of the NG movement has been the U.S., as its presence in the natural gas world has continued to skyrocket in recent years [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
This summer has shaped up quite differently than the one just a year ago, throwing a wrench into a number of commodities. 2012 was the warmest calendar year in U.S. history, and the summer was especially hot. This year has been a different story, as temperatures have remained relatively low with only a few heat waves in comparison to 2012. While it may be nice to save on electric bills and still stay cool, the lower temperatures have presented natural gas with an uphill battle in a time when it usually flourishes [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
The first half of 2013 is officially in the books as commodity investors take a look back on a relatively eventful two quarters. While equities surged to highs never seen before, a number of commodities struggled, as analysts and investors fear that the super-cycle may be nearing its end. But while a number of high profile commodities, like gold, had a tough time this year, there were others that persisted. Below, we outline three commodities who turned in positive performances through the first six months of the year [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Natural gas has been one of the most watched commodities of the past five years. After bottoming out following the 2008 recession, the fossil fuel has managed to claw back some of the ground it gave up. Many were hoping that this summer would solidify that run higher, but those who did had their expectations tempered, as the commodity has been among the worst performing over the last two weeks. Natural gas prices have dropped more than 9% since the end of May, as a number of factors have combined to hit prices hard [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Since the industrial revolution, growing economies around the world have turned to fossil fuels for a relatively cheap power source. This dependence on non-renewable resources has only increased in the past few decades, but so have the environmental arguments against them. One of the biggest arguments against burning fossil fuels is the harmful emissions that come as a side effect. But while many lump all fossil fuels together as being “dirty” energy sources, one stands out from the rest: natural gas [for more energy news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking”, has become one of the fastest-growing methods for tapping into abundant shale reserves held within the U.S. The process works by pumping fracturing fluids-like slickwater, gel or foam–into a wellbore at a sufficient enough rate to fracture the rocks below. When these fractures occur, the operator injects proppants into the well to prevent the fractures from closing when the fluid pressure is reduced. And finally, oil and gas leak from the fractures into the well for extraction. But the revolutionary process is not without its drawbacks, as many criticize the side effects caused from fracking. Below, we outline the case against fracking and why a number of people have rallied against this rapidly-developing energy extraction method [for more fracking news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Natural gas is one of the most popular commodities in the world and it often ranks among the CME Group’s most traded futures contracts; however, the commodity had been stuck in a rut since the 2008 recession before it finally saw some relief as 2013 opened. From natural gas’s peak to the beginning of the year, the fossil fuel had declined by more than 92%, as a number of macroeconomic factors weighed on the commodity. Just as it finally picked up steam in 2013, NG sputtered into May, dipping more than 9% through the first week of the month [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].