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Investing.com – Natural gas futures rose on the week, spurred by higher power burns in the United States for this time of year as late-night warmth especially prodded Americans to crank up the cooling at home despite fall weather being just about a week away.
But the market’s nexus with mid-$2 pricing seemed a difficult bond to break.
At Friday’s close, the most-active October gas contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange’s Henry Hub settled at $ $2.6440 per mmBtu, or million metric British thermal units — down -6.4 cents, or 2.4% on the day.
For the week, October gas was up 3.9 cents, or 1.5%.
Power burns — a major determinant of natural gas pricing — totaled 42.1 billion cubic feet per day for the Sept. 8-14 week, up 6.3 bcf/d for the comparative week of a year ago.
For Sept. 14 alone — the last available day for reading — the power burn was up 6 bcf/d, standing at 39.8 versus the year ago reading of 33.8.
The surge in power burns was the clearest indication yet that lingering warmth from the waning days of summer was still helping drive consumption of natural gas although fall will officially begin on Sept. 23, said analysts.
Notwithstanding that bullish factor, the biggest weight on the market remained concerns that production could ramp up again with this year’s drop in gas rigs — which indicate future output — seeming to have bottomed out. Natural gas rigs rose by eight in the latest, data from energy services firm Baker Hughes showed.
Gas in U.S. storage — often the ultimate driver of pricing — remained up 16% on the year at 3.205 trillion cubic feet, despite a blistering summer of power burns.
The two have kept the Henry Hub’s most-active contract not far from the mid-$2 level which natural gas has been stuck at since the start of 2023 — with the occasional run to $3 or thereabout.