Monday, June 8, 2009

Bloomberg: Natural Gas Cheapest to Oil Since 1992

I've written a ton about this, and I'd expect to write more as this is one of the most popular trades out there. Money is flowing swiftly into commodity funds and speculators are back into oil and gas. Oil has moved, and gas really hasn't. Here's some commentary via Bloomberg on the situation:

  • This year’s 31 percent decline in natural gas made it the worst performing commodity and the cheapest next to oil since the fall of the Soviet Union. That’s about to change, if history is any guide.
  • Natural gas lost 72 percent in 11 months as the U.S. fell into the deepest recession in 50 years and drillers failed to idle rigs fast enough to control inventories. Stockpiles are 22 percent larger than the five-year average, the Energy Department said. Oil costs 18 times more than gas, the biggest gap since 1992, when the collapse of communism cut supplies from Russia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
  • Now, gas drillers are tightening their grip on production just as the economy shows signs of improving. The number of U.S. rigs plunged 56 percent in nine months, the steepest drop in two decades, Baker Hughes Inc. said. Gas may rise 38 percent in the second half, while oil will gain 22 percent, according to Bloomberg analyst surveys.
The article has a variety of sources, with most predicting natural gas prices climbing through the rest of the year. I've been in agreement on this, but the supply-demand numbers are not adding up and that is why UNG hasn't made a move. Once the supply drops enough (and it will with the amount of wells being shut off) evens with demand (should come back with some recovery), UNG will run.

On the technical side, UNG continues to make lower highs which still represents a bearish trend. Volume has exploded and I'd attribute that more to the popularity of the commodity trade than a confirmed move. If you're a trader, you can move in and out of this for quick profits. If you're a value guy, you have to figure that anywhere in here is a good buying point as natural gas won't stay at these levels forever.

Another look at the chart.

No Positions, but that could change soon.

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