It was indeed remarkable that the U.S. natural gas market saw the lowest prices since July last week despite Polar Vortex 2019. In particular, given that gas demand peaks in the Winter when heating and power generation needs collide, the U.S. hit an all-time record of 150 Bcf/d of consumption.
Last year was admittedly a tough one for emerging markets. A number of currencies were under considerable pressure, with some of them falling to record or near-record lows against the strong U.S. dollar. Global trade tensions, threats of sanctions, rising U.S. interest rates and higher oil prices--before they began to crater in October, that is--also contributed to the selloff. From its 52-week high set in January 2018, the MSCI Emerging Markets Index sunk into bear market territory by the end of October.
In every column I have written about natural gas for Forbes I have referred to the natgas futures contract's legendary status among energy traders. Yes, as I have mentioned before, the natgas contract is known as "the widowmaker" owing to its extraordinary volatility. That volatility has been in full force in the last three months as natgas futures jumped through $4.50/mmcf in November before moving back downward into the recent "normal" range of $3.00-$3.50/mmcf and have now taken another leg downward to sit at $2.83/mmcf as of this writing.
Domestic airlines weren't exempt from the rout that hit stocks in December, the market's worst month since the Great Recession. Shares of all four major U.S. carriers--American, Delta, United Continental, and Southwest--saw double-digit losses. Delta ended December down 17.8 percent, its worst month since October 2009, when it gave back 20.3 percent.
Yesterday (Monday, 12/10) is the perfect example of the futility in trying to answer "Why the morning selloff?" The answer is not in the fundamentals, although the media certainly tried. All the early morning reports offered reasons, but the very range shows them to be inaccurate guesses: