Monday, June 25, 2012

For the Second Time in a Month Natural Gas Got to Levels Where Utilities May Switch Back to Coal and then Reversed

The futures traded above $2.77 for a few minutes this morning (electronic) and$2.731 )open outcry) and then reversed. That compares with the brief $2.88 back in May which led to a 17-day decline that ended at $2.22. We were able to get on board the down-move at $2.749.
In late electronic trade the front futures are at 2.676.
From the CME Group's AM Market Commentary (June 22):
,,,Most importantly the economics of coal to gas switching is becoming less favorable to Nat Gas on an almost daily basis. As of today the advantage has declined to around $0.08/mmbtu based on the Nymex spot Appalachian Coal price versus the Nymex spot Nat Gas futures price. Nat Gas is quickly approaching the point when utilities will start to look at the possibility of switching some of the Nat Gas back to coal for power generation if the current pattern continues as shown in the following chart. With Nat Gas inventories already at 73.3% of maximum workable capacity and the Producing region at 83.1% full the industry can't afford to lose any demand that has moved from the coal sector or else inventories will prematurely hit maximum capacity....MORE