With a gain of over 35% in seven trading days, the recent move in natural gas is (depending on your side of the trade) enough to make or break your year. The move has been impressive to say the least. What is interesting to note, though, is that even after this monster move, the front month contract is only back to levels it traded at in mid-November.
Looking at the recent surge in natural gas prices relative to history shows that big short term moves are not exactly rare for the commodity. The chart below shows the seven-day rate of change for the front-month natural gas futures contract going back to 1990. Over the last 25 years, the commodity has seen 35 other periods where it moved 25% or more (red line). That works out to an average of more than once per year. Of those 35 prior periods, eight were in excess of 35%.