U.S. natural gas futures continued to fall Thursday, reaching a new seven-month low after government data showed a larger than expected storage build last week.
Front-month Nymex natural gas (NG1:COM) for November delivery finished -1.9% to $5.3580/MMBtu, the lowest settlement value since March 29 and capping a 20.5% drop during over the last five sessions.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said utilities added 111B cf of gas to storage last week, the fifth week in a row that stockpiles increased by more than 100B cf.
Even as natural gas production growth is forecast to outpace domestic demand growth this coming winter, the continued increase in net exports and reduced gas storage inventories are expected to place more upward pressure on natural gas prices this winter, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission said Thursday.
Separately, the U.S. Pipeline Hazardous Materials and Safety Administration said Freeport LNG must receive full approvals before a planned November restart can begin.
The regulator so far has approved only pieces of Freeport's proposed changes; full approval adds to the hurdles for restarting the second-largest U.S. liquefied natural gas export plant, which has been idled since early June by a fire.