Natural Gas Prices Rise as Crude Closes Flat

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"On the fundamental side the news flow was largely positive. . ."

Natural gas prices for December delivery gained in trading Nov. 23 as crude oil closed "flattish after failing to surpass $80[/bbl] resistance as a bullish October home sales report was tempered by a weak dollar," said analysts at Raymond James.

Meanwhile, they said, "Henry Hub cash prices surpassed a 2-week high as the 6- to 10-day temperature outlook calls for a colder-than-normal [Thanksgiving] Day weekend in southeastern states."

Barclays Capital analysts noted, "Yesterday brought no change to the recent trading pattern in oil markets, whereby prices continue to trade sideways in a very tight range." They added, "Since the beginning of November, prices have traded within the bounds $75.57$81.06[/bbl], with the highest and lowest closing price being $80.40[/bbl] and $76.35[/bbl]."

They said, "Yesterday's price action saw the front-month WTI contract [for January delivery] gaining. . .On the fundamental side the news flow was largely positive; final trade data from China have continued to point to extraordinary domestic demand growth, with apparent oil demand in October up by more than 11% [year-to-year]. In the afternoon, positive macro data from the U.S., showing existing home sales surging 10.1% [month-to-month], helped cement the positive sentiment."

Barclays Capital analysts added, "At the same time the potential upside appears to be constrained by expectations surrounding OPEC policy, amid signs sent by the producing Group that it could change its output policy should prices start to push significantly above current levels. Given this framework, we believe prices will most likely continue to trade sideways for the time being."

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