How to Mitigate Risks Through Energy Hedging

Any company with substantial involvement in either the production or consumption of energy will always want to manage its energy price risk. Energy price fluctuations are a normal occurrence and can have a major impact on a company’s bottom-line. Therefore, company’s generally want to manage this risk in an effective way so that they can protect their investments. With this, the question arises, how does one manage price risk? The simple answer to this is the use of energy hedging and an energy risk management plan that can enable the company to meet its risk appetite goals.

Understanding the Difference between Speculative Trading and Hedging

It is very important that the difference between energy risk management, or energy hedging, and speculative trading be understood. Although hedgers and speculators are basically both placing trades their long-term goals are much different.

Speculative traders don’t produce or consume large quantities of energy. They are only concerned with placing trades in the direction of market trends and generating profit based upon those moves. Their holding period may be minutes, to days, to weeks, or more and their strategies vary greatly.

The end goal of a hedger is to protect the price of energy that is being produced or consumed by their company. For example, a producer wants to ensure that they get the highest price possible for commodities like crude oil or natural gas. Therefore, when prices are high and favorable, they use futures or derivates to lock in the price of their products for several months or even years.

Forming an Energy Hedging Strategy

A hedging strategy is the most crucial part of an effective energy risk management program. It can have long-term implications and help define the bottom line of a company’s yearly profit margins.

To arrive at the right decisions for your company the best way forward is validation by statistically analyzed data. To obtain this data you can turn to data analysis tools that an energy hedging solutions company of good standing can provide you. The company you choose will also provide you with a comprehensive series of charts and models to enable the study and monitoring of long-term price cycles.

The consultant will then guide you on how to use these price cycles to time hedges. The charts will give better insights on when to hedge, how much to hedge, and what types of instruments to use. In this way, you’ll be able to use the data that was collected by studying the charts and convert it into valuable information that will help mitigate the risks of price fluctuations in the energy markets.

Using Reports and Forecasts

Any effective energy risk management program should fit in with the hedging company’s goals and risk appetites. Reading the reports provided by a good energy hedging and risk management consultant can be of great help in this case. Ideally, these reports should offer you a quarterly forecast of the energy markets and should contain everything from the future curves in terms of energy pricing to recommendations on the right instrument to use for your hedges.

Valuable Rules to Remember

To successfully carry out an energy hedging program you should consider some general rules. Hedge when the opportunity presents itself, not based on a specific fiscal or calendar year or long-term price forecast. Opportunities occur when strips are at extremes. Choose to not hedge the first nearby contract and often postpone the second and third. Hedge for a longer duration like six months to a year or more, because it often takes this amount of time for a market to revert to its price mean. Lastly, fix forward in small increments, instead of one lump, over a three-to-four-month time span.

Conclusion

A carefully formed energy hedging strategy based on statistically analyzed data can enable companies that produce or consume energy to mitigate risks in the highly volatile energy markets.

Natural gas has adopted a much more positive near-term bias during the last week and is pushing toward key thresholds that could open the way for a longer-term bullish outlook. Today’s settle above $2.94, the upper end of the tolerance range around this week’s $2.91 target, calls for a test of $3.00. There is immediate resistance at $2.96 but $3.00 is now the next major objective. A close above this would be long-term bullish, calling for $3.10 and higher.

Natural Gas Daily
Natural Gas Daily

That said, the move up is becoming somewhat extended and a pullback to test support should take place before prices overcome $3.00. Such a move would likely be corrective and should hold $2.88 support. Key support for the near-term is $2.85, an important retracement of the move up from $2.671 and $2.74, which is also in line with the 50-day moving average. Settling below this would be a likely reflection of a negative shift in underlying fundamentals. For now, though, while $2.85 holds any move down will present a short-term buying opportunity that could become a longer-term uptrend upon a close over $3.00.

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

September natural gas briefly bounced after falling to $2.751, but the move up stalled at $2.788, forming a new primary wave down from $2.831 that is poised to reach at least $2.73 and possibly $2.70 tomorrow. The former is the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $2.671 and the smaller than (0.618) target of the wave down from $2.831. This level may initially hold, but once met odds will favor an eventual close below $2.73, which would then open the way for key support around $2.70. This is the equal to (1.00) target of the wave down from $2.831 and connects to $2.66 and lower.

Natural Gas - 0.025 Kase Bar
Natural Gas – 0.025 Kase Bar

That said, for the corrective move up from $2.671 to retain a reasonable shot at extending $2.73 needs to hold and prices will have to overcome the $2.788 intra-day swing high. This will not guarantee a move up but will increase the probability for a test of $2.85, $2.89, and possibly $2.92. For now, though, due to today’s close below yesterday’s $2.77 target, the near-term outlook is negative.

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

The near-term outlook for June natural gas has become much more positive. Odds favor a continued rise toward the next major objective of $2.98. However, today’s long upper shadow indicates a test of support might take place first, though this should present a buying opportunity for bulls.

Yesterday, prices finally overcame the $2.873 swing high and broke higher out of the trading range that has dominated the market since mid-February. In addition, the close above $2.90, a highly confluent and important projection for each of the major waves up from $2.55, $2.638, $2.66, and $2.695, increased odds that the move up will continue. As stated in our weekly analysis and yesterday’s daily update, the key now is to sustain a close above $2.90 and ideally hold support at $2.87 and no lower than $2.83.

Natural Gas - Daily
Natural Gas – Daily

Relative odds (based on the number of times a target is found within our analysis) indicate the move up should extend to at least $2.95 and likely $2.98. The latter is the next major objective because it is in line with the $2.975 swing high and is the last target protecting the psychologically important $3.00 level.

Even so, this afternoon’s pullback from $2.939 left a long upper shadow on the daily chart, warning that a test of support might take place before $2.95 is met and eventually overcome. Should prices fall below $2.90 early tomorrow, look for a test of Tuesday’s $2.87 midpoint. This level should hold.

Key support for the near-term is $2.83, Tuesday’s open and the 200-day moving average. Settling below this would be a strong indication that the move up has failed and that prices will most likely settle back into a trading range with a slightly higher ceiling.

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

After holding support near $2.70 last week, June natural gas rallied and overcame the $2.844 swing high. This was somewhat positive, but the move stalled just below the more important $2.873 swing high. This swing defines the top of the trading range that has contained prices since mid-February. For now, odds still slightly favor a break higher out of the range, though the pullback from yesterday’s $2.864 swing high is poised to extend to at least $2.79 and possibly $2.76 first.

Natural Gas - Daily
Natural Gas – Daily

Support at $2.76 is most important for the near-term and could present a buying opportunity for those that missed last week’s move up or have locked in long profits over the past few days. Even so, a close below $2.76 would shift odds back in favor of $2.71. This is the lowest that the small wave down from $2.864 projects, so this level should hold unless there is a bearish surprise from external factors (i.e. a much larger than expected build tomorrow).

Should prices overcome the $2.873 swing high the market must still settle above a highly confluent objective at $2.90 to prove a break higher out of the range isn’t a false breakout. Therefore, $2.90 is key resistance, a close above which would open the way for $2.93, $2.96, and possibly higher.

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

This week, June natural gas has been bound within a very tight range between nominally $2.70 and $2.77. This is a challenging call right now because there are plenty of technical factors that indicate a break in either direction could take place soon. Even so, because the corrective range formed after a move down from $2.82 odds have a slight edge to break lower. A close below $2.70 would open the way for $2.66, $2.63, and possibly lower. Should prices settle above $2.77, look for the move up to challenge at least $2.81 and possibly $2.84.

Natural Gas - 0.02 Kase Bar
Natural Gas – 0.02 Kase Bar

All of that said, even upon a break out of the most recent range prices must still contend with the boundaries of a larger range that has persisted for the past few months between approximately $2.66 and $2.87.

For now, look for a break out of the smaller range between $2.70 and $2.77 within the next day or so to guide short-term trade decisions. There is still no evidence calling for a break higher or lower out of the larger range, so its boundaries would make for likely profit taking or stop and reverse entry levels until external factors provide more evidence to help determine a longer-term trend.

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

June natural gas remains range bound between nominally $2.65 and $2.87 but has been working its way toward the upper end of the range for the past few days. A test of $2.84 is expected early tomorrow but this level will probably hold as there is evidence the move up is exhausted and poised for another test of $2.78 and possibly lower.

June sustained a close over $2.79, the smaller than (0.618) target of the wave up from $2.66, for the past two days. The equal to target for this wave is $2.85, which is near $2.84, the 200-day moving average. Waves that meet the smaller than target generally extend to the equal to target. Therefore, there is a good chance for at least $2.84 early tomorrow. This is extremely strong and important resistance, so a close above $2.84 would be quite positive for the near-term. However, to prove June has broken out of the recent range a close above the $2.873 swing high is necessary. For now, such a move is not expected without help from external factors (i.e. another larger than expected withdrawal from storage).

Natural Gas - Daily
Natural Gas – Daily

That said, today’s early move up fulfilled the $2.825 equal to (1.00) target of the wave up from $2.691 and the subsequent pullback formed a daily hanging man reversal pattern. The hanging man and confirmed bearish intra-day divergences indicate the move up is exhausted and ready for another test of $2.78. This is the hanging man’s confirmation point, a close below which would open the way for another downward oscillation within the trading range to $2.75 and lower.

So, with all factors considered look for a move up to at least $2.84 and then for a test of $2.78 again within the next day or so. Settling beyond either of these levels should paint a clearer picture of next week’s outlook.

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

In the bigger picture, natural gas remains range bound between nominally $2.60 and $2.84. However, last Friday’s break higher out of a bullish flag and test of resistance at $2.76 set prices up to test the upper end of the trading range this week. So far, though, prices have struggled to reach the upper end of the range and the last three days form stars. Two, including the most recent, are shooting stars and the third is a hanging man. All three stars are part of an evening star reversal pattern setup that would be completed by a close below $2.71.

Natural Gas - Daily
Natural Gas – Daily

Given the shooting stars, hanging man, evening star setup and several bearish intra-day momentum divergences near-term odds favor another test of $2.71. As stated, a close below this would complete the candlestick reversal pattern and open the way for the confirmation point near $2.68. This is key support for the near-term because it is also the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $2.621. Settling below $2.68 would open the way for another test of the bottom of the recent trading range at $2.60.

That said, trading has been erratic and so far $2.71 has held after being tested on Monday. Should prices rise above $2.78 first, look for another attempt at $2.81 and even $2.87, resistance levels split around the upper end of the range at $2.84.

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Natural gas is still oscillating within a range between nominally $2.60 and $2.80. Traders are likely waiting on external factors to push the market out of the range, so for now, erratic trading will most likely continue.

Prices briefly fell below the lower trend line of the bullish pennant (not a textbook example) that formed during the decline from $2.764. However, the move stalled at $2.621 before rising to $2.69 and forming an intra-day double-top. Due to this pattern and the settle below Tuesday’s midpoint and the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $2.726 near-term odds favor a test of $2.64 tomorrow. This is the intra-day double top’s target and the larger than target of the wave $2.69 – 2.667 – 2.69.

Natural Gas with Kase StatWare - 0.015 Kase Bar
Natural Gas with Kase StatWare – 0.015 Kase Bar

A close below $2.64 would call for $2.60 and lower, though given recent choppiness it would not be surprising to see $2.64 hold and for a test of $2.72 resistance to take place. This is near the upper trend line of the pennant. A close above this would call for $2.76 and possibly higher.

So, the market will most likely test a bit lower tomorrow before possibly challenging resistance again. But, with all factors considered, there is still no evidence that the market will break out of the trading range and determine a long-term direction.

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Natural gas continues to show signs that it has settled into a trading range between nominally $2.55 and $2.85. Trading will most likely remain erratic as the market awaits factors to push it out of the range. However, it may be awhile before such factors come forth as the market will be pressed to balance inventories that are well below the five-year average against strong production during the low demand spring shoulder months.

Quantitative factors are balanced and reflect the neutral near-term outlook. Today’s initial move lower held support at $2.67 before rising and challenging important resistance at $2.75. The subsequent pullback from $2.746 forms a long upper shadow on the daily candlestick and is poised to challenge $2.67 again tomorrow. The likelihood of a test of support was also accentuated by a confirmed bearish KaseCD divergence on the $0.015 Kase Bar chart. A close below $2.67 will call for $2.63, which connects to $2.59 and $2.56.

That said, trading will likely remain choppy and a close above $2.74 would open the way for $2.78. Settling above $2.78 would shift near-term odds in favor of challenging the top of the trading range around $2.85.

Natural Gas with Kase StatWare - 0.015 Kase Bar
Natural Gas with Kase StatWare – 0.015 Kase Bar

This is a brief analysis for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and daily updates are much more detailed and thorough energy price forecasts that cover key natural gas futures contracts, calendar spreads, the UNG ETF, and several electricity contracts. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.