Natural gas sees record withdrawal as cold weather again looms

January 17, 2014 02:59 AM
Record Breaker!

The Energy Information Administration's natural gas (NYMEX:NGG14) supply report showed a record withdrawal from storage, but not as big as some of the bulls had hoped. Record demand and production curtailed by cold still allowed natural gas to close at a new high for the year but not really breakout from overhead resistance. Natural gas saw a draw of 287 vs. calls for a draw over 300 but still supplies fell to basically 15% below the five-year average.

And based on my red face and frost bit cheeks, we will see supply continue to tighten as more cold will dominate much of the nation. Fox News AccuWeather says the polar vortex will get stronger and move farther south later in January, causing cold to intensify in the Midwest and East and drought to build in California and the West. As the pattern responsible for rounds of nuisance snow and waves of cold air continues into next week, indications are that bitterly cold air will return later in the month courtesy of the polar vortex. There is the chance the cold may rival that of early January in some areas.

Impact from the new surge of very cold air may include the already familiar risks from below-zero temperatures including life-threatening conditions and frostbite. The cold may be intense enough to cause school closings, frozen pipes and water main breaks. Heating systems may struggle to keep up, people will spend more money keeping their homes and businesses warm and ice will again build up on area rivers. Where the cold is accompanied by snow, travel delays are likely. A piece of the polar vortex will continue to hover around Hudson Bay and northern Quebec, Canada, into next week. That cold may give natural gas another run yet it will be tougher to break out. Weather is going to be key once again.

Oil (NYMEX:CLG14) is up a bit some say on the latest OPEC forecast. MarketWatch reports that oil futures rose on Friday after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries said it expected increasing global demand for the commodity in 2014 and as U.S. inventories continued to drop.

Yet with U.S. oil production being at the highest level since 1988 and the fact that many are suspect of last week's massive draw, it may keep the market form rallying too hard unless the shorts decide to throw in the towel over the weekend.

About the Author

Phil Flynn is a senior energy analyst at The PRICE Futures Group and a Fox Business Network contributor. Phil is one of the world's leading market analysts, providing individual investors, professional traders, and institutions with up-to-the-minute investment and risk management insight into global petroleum, gasoline, and energy markets.