Natural gas price forecast: Where next?

The price has shot up and a shortage is likely. What is the natural gas price prediction?

The cost of natural gas has soared, meaning that analysts have had to alter their natural gas price forecasts.

A combination of growth in demand as the world comes out of the Covid pandemic and the coming winter means the commodity’s price has boomed far more quickly than many expected.

Russia has also failed to top up gas supplies to Europe over the summer as it would normally do – a move seen as an attempt to apply political pressure for the approval by Germany and the EU of its Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline.

So what exactly has happened to the natural gas price and what might happen in the future? 

While past performance is not an indicator of future performance, it does let us understand the road that led to the current crisis, and could even have an impact on our understanding of natural gas price predictions.

Natural gas price history

Over the past month, the price of natural gas has risen substantially. Before we go into detail about recent price rises, however, though natural gas is more expensive than it has been in quite some time, it is still nowhere near its highest price.

In 2008, the commodity was being sold for $12.69 per metric million British Thermal Units (MMBTU). This was due, at least in part, to a spike in oil prices.

Nevertheless, the comparatively slow growth that we are seeing at the moment might actually be more concerning precisely because it is slow. A spike in prices can be written off as a kind of temporary freakish anomaly but a more consistent rise could lead to a new basic floor for the commodity.

Anyway, it's worth noting that, a year ago, the price of natural gas at the start of trading on 23 September 2020 was $1.845 per MMBTU while, when the markets closed on 15 September 2021, the price for natural gas was $5.460. The price has thus tripled over the course of a year.  

The most notable first sign of movement was on 23 September 2020 itself. The price of natural gas broke through the $2 barrier during the day, hitting a high of $2.207 and closing at $2.125. The price of natural gas has not fallen below $2 since then. While it stayed between $2 and $3 for a while, the overall direction has been an upward one.

On 28 September 2020 the markets closed at $2.101 but the very next day, they opened at $2.769, a rise of nearly a third overnight. While the price then retreated to close the day at $2.561, it was a sign that the natural gas price was volatile.

October 2020 saw a worrying, rise when the commodity hit an intraday high of $3.053. This was the start of a price bulge, which saw the price hover around the $3 mark for a few weeks, and an intraday high of $3.396 on 30 October a notable point.

That said, in November the price came down again and dropped below $3 for a sustained period on 5 November. There were brief bursts above $3 on the 11th and 12th of the month, but the price soon fell back and stayed below $3 for the rest of the month. There was some potential good news for consumers on 8 December when the price fell to an intraday low of $2.368, the lowest natural gas had been since September. 

The price then started to spiral up again, though, and the last price before the markets closed on 23 December for Christmas was $2.608. There was a festive treat for customers when the price fell over the holiday period and opened on 28 December at $2.311.

Natural gas price chart
The Natural gas price history - Credit: Currency.com

Natural gas price history in 2021

The price then rose again, opening 2021 at $2.626 on 4 January. It stabilised roughly between $2.50 and $3 over the next six weeks. The $3 barrier was broken again at the start of trading on 16 February with a price of $3.046, but there was an intraday low of $2.889 on 22 February and over time, it looked as if the dragon had been slain and the price would stay below $3. Then on 14 May there was an intraday price of $3.016 and, slowly, the price grew.

The last time the price was below $3 was on 28 May, when it closed at $2.986. Since then, the cost has been above $3 at least. The intraday high of $4.006 on 22 July represented a new peak and the cost of natural gas kept on rising.

Initially, though, there was a dip to an intraday low of $3.734 on 19 August but a rebound followed and 26 August’s close of $4.184 was followed by a rising natural gas price trend to $5.031 at the end of 9 September. The price hit a periodic high of $5.650 on 15 September and in the afternoon of 20 September it was $5.062.

So what is the upshot of recent rises? Let’s take a look at the natural gas price forecast. This can give us an indication of the future of the natural gas price, although we do have to remember that predictions are often wrong. 

Natural Gas price history

Date Close Change Change(%) Open High Low
Oct 22, 2021 5.387 -0.004 -0.07% 5.391 5.404 5.366
Oct 21, 2021 5.389 -0.069 -1.26% 5.458 5.471 5.240
Oct 20, 2021 5.460 0.136 2.55% 5.324 5.483 5.189
Oct 19, 2021 5.325 0.107 2.05% 5.218 5.344 5.052
Oct 18, 2021 5.217 -0.204 -3.76% 5.421 5.562 5.177
Oct 17, 2021 5.422 -0.022 -0.40% 5.444 5.485 5.412
Oct 15, 2021 5.583 -0.170 -2.95% 5.753 5.912 5.559
Oct 14, 2021 5.752 -0.040 -0.69% 5.792 6.073 5.729
Oct 13, 2021 5.791 0.235 4.23% 5.556 5.808 5.471
Oct 12, 2021 5.557 0.083 1.52% 5.474 5.630 5.281
Oct 11, 2021 5.473 -0.307 -5.31% 5.780 5.893 5.408
Oct 10, 2021 5.781 0.005 0.09% 5.776 5.830 5.770
Oct 8, 2021 5.700 -0.153 -2.61% 5.853 5.962 5.628
Oct 7, 2021 5.852 -0.001 -0.02% 5.853 5.894 5.469
Oct 6, 2021 5.854 -0.534 -8.36% 6.388 6.522 5.721
Oct 5, 2021 6.387 0.484 8.20% 5.903 6.446 5.845
Oct 4, 2021 5.904 0.116 2.00% 5.788 6.121 5.721
Oct 3, 2021 5.787 -0.010 -0.17% 5.797 5.824 5.772
Oct 1, 2021 5.593 -0.384 -6.42% 5.977 6.049 5.590
Sep 30, 2021 5.976 0.547 10.08% 5.429 6.057 5.422

Natural gas price: futures and the future?

FX Empire says the $5 mark may well prove significant. The site says the figure is psychologically important and also notes that the last time the price of natural gas reached $5, in late 2008 and early 2009, there was a fairly quick retreat below that mark.

That said, the site says that it is unlikely the commodity’s price will get below $4.50 at any point soon, and it is unlikely to reach the absolute bottom mark of $4 in the near future. This means that the natural gas price forecast for 2021 is good, but not great, for customers and bad, but not terrible for investors. However, since there are not many, if any, concrete natural gas price forecasts, you should take this with a pinch of salt and do your own research.

One final thing to notice is the volume of futures being traded in natural gas – there has been a significant amount of activity in that field over the past month. For instance, the lowest volume for futures traded in that time period is 257,341, which is the number traded on 18 August. When we consider that the highest figure over the time period was 778,054, that shows just how much of an interest there was in the market. For what it is worth, the most recent figure is 420,055 on 17 September. 

FAQs

There are a number of reasons why the price of natural gas is going up. The main reason is the approach of winter and a higher demand for the product as the world tries to get back to normal after the Covid-19 pandemic.

It might be but, on the other hand, it might not be. It all depends on what will happen in the future and, since there are very few people willing to make a forecast, you will have to do your own research and remember that prices can go down as well as up.

You can invest in natural gas today in tokenised assets at Currency.com. Tokenised assets are crypto derivatives whose value is linked to the value of a particular asset. 

Currency.com offers the opportunity to buy with leverage, with easily defined stop losses, and limits to close positions at a specified price. But while leverage will allow you to make bigger profits if a stock goes up, it will also magnify your losses if the price goes down.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not represent investment advice. Do your own research and always remember your decision to trade depends on your attitude to risk, your expertise in this market, the spread of your investment portfolio and how comfortable you feel about losing money. Never invest more than you can afford to lose.

Trade US Natural Gas Spot - Natural Gas price chart

US Natural Gas Spot
Daily change
5.548
Low: 5.364
High: 5.548
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