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].
It’s been an interesting time for investors in the natural gas space. As hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling have become the extraction method of choice for E&P firms, production of the fuel has skyrocketed and led to a surplus of supply and high storage inventories. The huge surpluses have combined with slack demand for the fuel, causing prices to crater. At one point they were below $2 per MMBtu [for more oil news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
High daily volumes coupled with erratic and sometimes unpredictable movements have given natural gas a big name in the commodity world, along with a reputation as a risky investment. With NG jumping more than 20% year-to-date and still climbing, many analysts are looking for a spark behind these gains, and they’re wondering how long the trend will last [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Investor interest in commodities has surged in recent years, as the lucrative returns and growth potential provided by this corner of the market have successfully attracted even the smallest of investors. And while financial innovation has certainly helped democratize the asset class, investors of all walks should certainly familiarize themselves with the complexities and nuances of this market. In this article, we’ll take a look at seven key terms that all commodity traders should know [for more commodity news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter]:
For investors in the natural gas sector it certainly has been a tug of war the last few years. Prices for the fuel surged from a low of $1.96 per million Btus in early 2002 to a peak of $15.78 back in 2005 as the U.S. was predicted to be in short supply of the fuel. Since that time, advances in hydraulic fracturing (fracking) as well as horizontal drilling have helped unlock a virtual ocean of the natural gas within U.S. borders. That abundance has completely changed the supply landscape and has resulted in massive inventories of the fuel [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
It’s not a secret that commercial hedgers and institutional traders account for the majority of trading in the commodities markets. But, many individual traders fail to realize that they can take a behind-the-scenes look at these trades each and every week, thanks to reporting requirements imposed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) [for more market news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].
Weather patterns in the United States have been throwing a wrench into the natural gas world, as temperatures have struggled to find a comfortable level. This year started off rather warm, only to see temperatures jostle back in forth, making it almost impossible to NG to maintain consistency. While the volatility has been nice for active traders looking to turn a profit, the unpredictable weather and price movements have made trading something of a headache this year [for more natural gas news and analysis subscribe to our free newsletter].