Natural Gas Traders Triple Bearish Bets as Winter Prices Tumble

(Bloomberg) — Hedge funds tripled their bearish bets on natural gas, encouraged by the biggest winter price slump in three years. Money managers increased their net-short position across four benchmark contracts to the most since November 2011 in the week ended Jan. 27, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. Speculators have been short gas for five weeks. Gas prices have slumped 31 percent since the end of October to a 29-month low Jan. 30 as traders looked beyond a blizzard that dumped snow on Boston to rising production that may turn a U.S. stockpile deficit into a surplus by the time the heating season ends in March. “You would think that with all the snow and the cold weather you would have seen a bigger price response, but the fact that you saw it go down shows the market is secure about the supply in place,” said Jason Schenker, president of Prestige Economics LLC in Austin, Texas, who was the ranked no. 1 by Bloomberg for his fourth-quarter gas price forecast, said in a Jan. 29 phone interview. Natural gas rose 15 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $2.981 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange … continue reading

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