Natural gas tops $5 for first time since 2010, demand should remain high

|By:, SA News Editor

As the U.S. freezes and stocks plunge, benchmark U.S. natural gas futures topped $5/mmBtu for the first time since Aug. 2010 on expectations that continued cold weather would keep demand high for the heating fuel.

Natl gas has moved well into overbought territory during the last few days as consumers have pumped up their thermostats, and the spike may last a while longer given that the cold snap is set to continue all of next week.

Despite the run-up in prices for Jan. and Feb., longer-dated prices for the spring and summer remain below $4.50/mmBtu, providing little incentive for the likes of Chesapeake (CHK -0.1%), Devon (DVN -0.8%) and EOG (EOG -2%) to switch from oil to gas drilling.

The shift to backwardation is a big boost to United States Natural Gas Fund (UNG +8.2%) and even bigger to the leveraged VelocityShares 3X Long Natural Gas ETN (UGAZ +24.4%).

Other ETFs: GAZ, BOIL, DGAZ, UNL, KOLD, NAGS, DCNG.