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Western US leads spot gas price downtrend for 3rd consecutive month in July

Natural gas for day-ahead delivery in the western U.S. lost more than one-third of its value in July 2019 compared to July 2018, leading percentage declines in spot gas pricing for the third month in a row.

The Midcontinent, Gulf Coast and Northeast saw day-ahead natural gas prices fall by between 18.0% and 23.0% from year-ago levels. In the West, the largest observed percentage drop of 35.8% took the index to its lowest value relative to other regions at $1.792/MMBtu.

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Weaker cooling demand and growing shale production combined to drive bearish influence for the month across the country.

Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows population-weighted cooling degree days for the four-week period ended July 27 were 29.9% lower than in the year-ago period for the Pacific region and 2.6% lower on a nationwide basis.

In terms of supply, the U.S. Energy Information Administration's latest Drilling Productivity Report estimates U.S. shale gas production will approach 82.0 Bcf/d in August, from 81.2 Bcf/d in July.

At the hub level, SoCal Citygate and PG&E Gate in the western U.S. had among the highest valued July spot gas indexes nationwide at $2.726/MMBtu and $2.621/MMBtu, respectively, yet still reflected losses of 71.6% and 12.9% year over year. The largest percentage decline among hubs nationwide was also observed in the region, at 78.9% for the Waha Hub, where spot gas pricing averaged at 46 cents/MMBtu.

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Market prices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power and natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities pages.