August natural gas prices broke out to their best level since May 25th in overnight and early morning action. The market seemed to garner support from Tropical Storm Debby and the closure of nearly 25% of Gulf of Mexico oil and gas operations. The market might have also found support from the latest rig count data from Baker Hughes, which showed its gas-directed rig count falling to the lowest level since August 1999. The Commitments of Traders Futures and Options report as of June 19th showed non-commercial traders were net short 115,441 contracts, an increase of 8,199. Non-commercial and nonreportable traders combined held a net short position of 93,204 contracts, for an increase of 2,119 during the report week.
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