Natural gas price rebounds for the second day Friday as driven by broad-based rallies in energy complex as well as better-than-expected headline stockpile data. The May futures edges slightly higher to 3.804 in European morning after rebounding 2.4% to settle at 3.782. The advance is, however, incomparable to crude's 10% rally.
The US Energy Department reported Thursday that natural gas inventory remained unchanged, on weekly basis, as 1654 bcf for the week ended Mar 27. The result was better than market expectation of 3 bcf gain. However, we viewed the result as bearish. Beware that the US Energy Department also released a 'correction' yesterday that 9bcf of gas was 'reclassified' away from 'usable supplies. That means, if there's no such reclassification, inventory would have risen by 9 bcf. During the same period in 2008, total supply was 1248 bcf while the average change for the week over the past 5 years is a decline of 23 bcf.
WTI crude oil extends yesterday's strength and surges to as high as 53.9 as stock markets rally and investors turned optimistic as G-20 widened efforts to revive global economy. However, we see difficulties for crude oil to rise above 55 given the high inventory level and sluggish demands.
After the thrill by G-20, the focus today has turned to job data in the US. The US Labor Department will report on non-farm payroll which is expected to show a 654K reduction in jobs in March following a 654K decline in the previous month. Moreover, unemployment rate should have increased to 8.5% during the month from 8.1% a month ago.
Gold price remains weak and continues trading around 903 level. Although the market may worry about the potential gold sales by the IMF, we believe it will not affect gold price significantly. It's likely that the IMF will sell 403.3 metric of its gold holdings in the coming few years. However, as the IMF insisted, it will be done in an orderly way so as not to destabilize the market. Moreover, at this amount, the transaction should be able to be done at market prices. While IMF is going to sell gold to raise cash, central banks with large reserve in USD are looking to buy more gold to diversify their holdings in the dollar. Policymakers may find it as a good opportunity to buy gold.