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Natural GasCrude

Energy markets top of mind – got gas?

Chris Weston
Head of Research
10 Aug 2023
Energy markets are front of mind – we see crude into new cycle highs and riding the 5-day EMA – clients are progressively increasing short exposures, although we’re not at historically high skews.

Nat Gas (NG) – the wild west of energy markets – has broken the $1.91 to $2.82 range it has held all year, and the Bollinger Band volatility squeeze is firmly on. EU TTF NG prices were a clear driver, with price closing up 28%, and along with US CPI, will be front and centre in the session ahead.

Gasoline has moved to range highs of $3.00 and could get more attention from clients, if and when it closes above the highs.

The fundamentals behind the NG move have been firmly debated and whether the potential worker's strike at the Chevron and Woodside LNG facilities has genuine longevity – the three facilities in question account for c.10% of global LNG supply, so it is significant.

The risk to NG longs resides in a quick de-escalation of talks and we ultimately see no impact on supply. Married with signs of a mild winter in Asia and LNG not far off capacity limits, we could see a sharp decline in price on a resolution. Conversely, if we do see a full escalation and the market feels it could play out over a period of weeks, longs will be sitting pretty.

The trend-following crowd would be triggered on NG, with price closing above the Bollinger band and Donchian Channel (40-day look back). This still needs work, but the fact we’ve seen a breakout has raised the prospect of a test of the 200-day MA and full trending conditions.

Preview

Looking at the intraday tape in the US500 we see that as crude prices pushed above the April highs, we saw little selling of equity. We also saw the market's pricing of expected inflation (through ‘breakeven’ rates) also falling. This goes part of the way to answer two important questions – the level where higher energy prices accelerate the view that headline inflation may reverse higher again. And, whether higher oil prices become an outright negative for equities.

It appears that while we are closer to that tipping point, it feels like it may take a break of the psychological $100p/b to change the risk dynamic. 

For now, longs in Nat Gas seem the right position, knowing the clear near-term risk/catalyst is headlines on strike action in W.A.

Preview

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