By Jeanine Prezioso
April 5 Money managers, including hedge funds
and commodity trading advisers, in the week to April 2 raised
their net long position in natural gas futures, options and
swaps for the seventh week in a row, breaking the prior week's
record for largest net long position.
The group was holding the largest net long position since
the IntercontinentalExchange began reporting trader
positions to the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission
(CFTC) in January 2010, according to Reuters data.
The investors added 6,199 contracts in NYMEX natural gas
futures and options, NYMEX Henry Hub Swaps, NYMEX Henry Hub
Penultimate Swaps, and ICE Henry Hub Swaps, increasing their net
long position to 393,884, according to data from the CFTC
released on Friday.
Renewed investor interest in natural gas has come as the
balance between supply and demand has tightened.
Gas supplies were drawn down to meet late-winter heating
demand amid colder-than-normal weather last month.
U.S. government data released on Thursday showed that stocks
of the fuel were 31 percent below last year's levels and had
fallen below the five-year average for the first time in 19
Open interest, which reflects the number of contracts that
have changed hands but have not settled between buyers and
sellers, in natural gas futures has consistently broken records.
On Thursday, CME Group's New York Mercantile
Exchange (NYMEX) reported that open interest in NYMEX Henry Hub
natural gas futures hit a record on April 2 at 1.459 million and
then had broken it again the following day reaching 1.462
million, marking the 13th consecutive open interest record.
Open interest in futures, options and swaps in the week to
April 2, rose by 40,923 to 3.898 million.
NYMEX natural gas futures prices were virtually
unchanged between reporting periods at $3.969 per million
British thermal units last Tuesday.
NYMEX May gas futures prices on Friday ended 4.5 percent or
17.8 cents higher at $4.125 per mmBtu, the highest settlement
price since August 2011.