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“Observation is a dying art.” – Stanley Kubrick
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It’s been a wild ride for natural gas over the last two trading days. After an 8% rally Friday, natural gas plunged more than 14% on Monday for its largest one-day decline since June 30th and its 15th worst day since 1990. 2023 is barely more than two months old, but yesterday’s decline was the 5th time this year that natural gas had a single-day move (up or down) of 10%+, and that follows last year when there were a record 18 daily 10%+ moves. If the pace of volatility that natural gas has seen so far this year were to continue for the remainder of the year, there would be 28 single-day moves of 10%+. For some perspective, before last year there were just three years (1996, 2001, and 2009) where natural gas experienced ten or more single-day moves of 10%+.
The record volatility of natural gas can be further illustrated by looking at the commodity’s average daily move over a rolling 200-trading day period. Before 2022, the average daily percentage move in natural gas prices never exceeded 3.8% and from 2012 right up until COVID, the average daily move never exceeded 2.6%. Covid and the war in Ukraine changed all that, and nowadays, on any given day, a daily move of 4.6% in natural gas has become the norm as this degree of volatility in the commodity has never been experienced before.
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