U.S. liquefied natural gas exports are on track to rise in August for the first month in six, helping to boost U.S. gas prices by over 17% on Monday, analysts said.
So far this year, LNG buyers around the world have canceled more than 100 U.S. cargoes as prices for the fuel collapsed to record lows in Europe and Asia after demand fell due to the coronavirus.
Even before the pandemic spread, global gas prices were already trading at their lowest levels in years after a record number of LNG export terminals entered service in 2019, flooding the global market with fuel, at the same time winters in Europe were warmer-than-normal, forcing utilities to leave record amounts of gas in storage.
Stockpiles in the United States and Europe are expected to reach all-time highs at the end of the injection season – though not as high as previously forecast following a hot summer and rising U.S. LNG exports.
“LNG feedgas demand has returned to … its highest level since late June, stoking the market’s hope that export demand bottomed out in July and will begin to recover this fall,” said Daniel Myers, market analyst at Gelber & Associates in Houston.
The amount of gas flowing to U.S. LNG plants averaged 4.0 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in August, according to Refinitiv, putting LNG exports on track for their first monthly gain since hitting a record high of 8.7 bcfd in February.
That compares with a 21-month low of 3.3 bcfd in July when buyers canceled the most cargoes in a month.
With LNG exports rising again and hot weather expected to blanket much of the United States until late August, U.S. gas futures soared over 17% on Monday to their highest since early May.