An early chill stoked demand for heating fuel and warmed up natural gas exchange traded funds, with gas futures moving toward their largest weekly gain in 11 months.
The United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG) gained 7.3% over the past week, and the ProShares Ultra DJ-UBS Natural Gas ETF (BOIL), which attempts to deliver twice the daily performance of natural gas price movements, jumped 13.8%.
Natural gas futures were 7.5% higher this week, heading for the largest gain since Nov. 16. Futures were up 1.1% Friday, trading around $3.76 per million metric British thermal units.
Below-normal temperature forecasts in the Great Lakes to Rocky Mountains region from Oct. 16 through Oct. 25 helped support natural gas prices, reports Naureen S. Malik for Bloomberg.
"We have a bout of cold weather coming through and that's propping up the price," Eric Bickel, a natural gas analyst at Schneider Electric, said in the article. "The fourth quarter becomes more sensitive to weather dynamics when you see the first bit of heating load."
According to the Energy Information Administration, about half of U.S. homes utilize gas-powered heating.
The EIA has stated that it will cease operations on Oct. 11 if the government shutdown is not resolved, Reuters reported.
Given the current positive natural gas trends, without a gas report next week, the gas rally could continue "as the market would not have what is likely to be another above-normal inventory injection to digest," Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute, said in the Bloomberg article.
Gas storage levels rose 90 billion cubic feet last week, compared to last year's gain for the same week of 73 bcf and the five-year average of 84 bcf for the week, Wall Street Journal reports. The EIA stated that current stocks of 3.577 trillion cubic feet are 3.7% lower year-over-year, but 1.6% above its five-year average.
United States Natural Gas Fund
Max Chen contributed to this article.