Natural Gas Pares Decline as Supply Decline Matches Forecast

Jan 30, 2014 10:49 am ET

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures pared declines in New York after a government report showed a U.S. stockpile decline that matched analyst estimates.

The Energy Information Administration said inventories fell 230 billion cubic feet in the week ended Jan. 24 to 2.193 trillion cubic feet. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed a withdrawal of 231 billion. A survey of Bloomberg users predicted a decrease of 230 billion.

“It’s still a pretty healthy draw,” said Kyle Cooper, director of research with IAF Advisors in Houston. “The run up over the last few days has already priced in very large withdrawals and also you have a weather forecast at the very back end that looks to be moderating.”

Natural gas for March delivery fell 31.4 cents, or 5.8 percent, to $5.151 per million British thermal units at 10:38 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gas traded at $5.148 before the storage report was released at 10:30 a.m. in Washington. Volume was 69 percent above the 100-day average.

Prices are up 22 percent this month, heading for the biggest gain since September 2009.

The stockpile decline was larger than the five-year average drop of 162 billion cubic feet for the period, EIA data show. Supplies fell by 191 billion the same week last year.

A deficit to the five-year average widened to 16.6 percent from 13.2 percent the previous week. Inventories were 22.5 percent below year-earlier inventories, compared with 19.8 percent in last week’s report.

Supplies may end the heating season in March at 1.164 trillion cubic feet, the lowest level since 2008, said Anthony Yuen, a strategist at Citigroup Inc. New York.

--Editors: Charlotte Porter, Bill Banker