U.S. natural gas inventory sharply decreased in recent months leading to an increase of Henry Hub gas prices of 60% in three months, to 3.10 dollars per million BTU, against 1.90 dollar last April, when it reached its lowest level in ten years.
Gas demand in the United States has been favored in recent months by a hot summer, driving an increase in electricity consumption for air conditioning, and by low gas prices prompting power plants to shift from coal to gas.
Gas prices, back to last Devember level, remain at just over $3 per million BTU, far from 4.4 dollars a year ago or the early 2010 peak of $6.
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch points out that the prospects of rising gas prices in the coming months are very limited. New price increases would again make coal more competitive, and also favor shale gas drilling.