GAS PRICES: $2.900/MMBTU
PLATTS - NYMEX March natural gas futures ticked higher in buying at lows overnight in the US ahead of Friday's open. At 7:10 am ET (1210 GMT) the contract was 4.4 cents higher at $2.900/MMBtu, having shed 13.9 cents the previous day.
March gas crumbled for the second consecutive session Thursday after the US Energy Information Administration outlined a net 99 Bcf withdrawal during the week ended January 26 that was below both the average anticipated 102 Bcf draw and the 160 Bcf five-year average pull.
Lackluster demand in the subsequent days suggests another modest withdrawal from stocks in the current week as the EIA's latest Natural Gas Weekly Update for the week ended January 31 shows a 2% week-on-week slump in total US gas consumption.
Seasonable to colder-than-normal weather in midrange outlooks suggests elevated heating demand and a ramped up rate of weekly storage draws but only briefly, as moderating conditions in longer-range projections suggests renewed demand weakness and a reprise of a slower rate of inventory erosion as winter transitions to spring.
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API - American Petroleum Institute reported that the first four months of this year saw U.S. petroleum demand average 750 thousand barrels a day above the same period in 2017 despite higher prices, a sign of solid economic activity. April also saw the U.S. produce a record 10.5 million barrels per day (MBD) of oil.
IMF - “Egypt’s growth has continued to accelerate during 2017/18, rising to 5.2 percent in the first half of the year from 4.2 percent in 2016/17. The current account deficit has also declined sharply, reflecting the recovery in tourism and strong growth in remittances, while improved investor confidence has continued to support portfolio inflows. In addition, gross international reserves rose to $44 billion by end-April, equal to 7 months of imports.
BAKER HUGHES A GE - U.S. Rig Count is up 1 rig from last week to 1,046, with oil rigs unchanged at 844, gas rigs up 1 to 200, and miscellaneous rigs unchanged at 2. Canada Rig Count is up 4 rigs from last week to 83, with oil rigs up 6 to 38 and gas rigs down 2 to 45.
REUTERS - Brent crude futures LCOc1 were at $79.57 per barrel at 0310 GMT, up 27 cents, or 0.3 percent from their last close. Brent broke through $80 for the first time since November 2014 on Thursday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were at $71.62 a barrel, up 13 cents, or 0.2 percent, from their last settlement.