Natural gas futures commanded center stage on Thursday, rallying to their largest one-day percentage gain of the year as weakened oil futures continued on a spiral decline, according to Bloomberg MarketWatch.
On its first full trading day as a front month contract, September natural gas rose 21.3 cents, or 8%, to settle at $2.873 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It marked the highest settlement since July 1 and best percentage gain since December.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, September West Texas Intermediate crude slipped 78 cents, or 1.9%, to settle at $41.14 a barrel.
On London’s ICE Futures Exchange, September Brent crude fell 77 cents, or 1.8%, to settle at $42.70 a barrel.
“A lot of the focus in the market seems to have been on the supply side of the ledger,” said Tim Evans, chief market strategist at Long Leaf Trading Group. “Bearish inventory data this week, rising rig counts, and global supply figures that suggest a global glut of crude oil needs to be worked off.”
Oil prices hit three-month lows after Wednesday’s U.S. Energy Information Administration report revealed an unexpected 1.7-million increase in crude oil inventories.