Cramer: Is the Nat Gas Glut Here to Stay?

There tends to be a seasonal pattern to the nat gas trade. But have the recent discoveries changed the game for good?

Historically, natural gas, like most commodities, moves between cycles of oversupply and undersupply.

However, since we've discovered so many new pockets of nat gas and other energy resources in the United States -- and since the technology for extracting it has improved so dramatically -- Cramer can't help but wonder if the cycle is broken.

In his quest for an answer Cramer turned to top technical analyst Carley Garner, author of A Traders First Book on Commodities, as well as co-founder of DeCarley Trading and a Cramer colleague at

According to Garner's analysis, although natural gas has been rallying hard off of its lows since April, it's still too early to get bullish.

Gardner does recognize that there could be some reasons to get positive on the commodity. For starters, natural gas has a strong tendency to rally every year from mid-February through April.

However, before we get that rally, the commodity typically suffers sharp declines in late January.

So if you're going to try to play the calendar, Garner cautions that now is not the right time to do so. In short, she thinks natural gas is likely to go lower before it goes higher.

Here are the technicals.

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Natural Gas
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Natural Gas

Looking at the weekly chart of natural gas, Garner points out that the commodity has been making a very prominent wedge pattern, ever since its big bottom last April. This wedge gives natural gas a ceiling of resistance at $3.70, and a floor of support near $3.20.

Although Garner thinks natural gas could get a boost from a strong seasonal tailwind starting in mid-February, there's a full month until that happens.

And in that month, she thinks it's likely nat gas could break down, falling through its floor of support. Should that happen - people who follow technicals may panic and as a result, there could be a major sell-off.

That very negative scenario may not be so far-fetched.

Although this part of Garner's analysis is somewhat complex, suffice it to say two important momentum indicators - the Relative Strength Index or RSI, and the Williams Percent Range also known as the Williams Percent R – suggest nat gas is not oversold.

In other words, it's not so outrageous to think the price can fall -- a lot. There's a way to go before the selling runs out of steam.

If you're a pro and looking to buy futures, Garner says if natural gas breaks down below that $3.20 floor of support, prices could quickly tumble down to $2.60, which was the starting point for the latest rally at the beginning of September.

To play the seasonal rally from February to April, Garner says that $2.60 area is where you might want to consider starting to pick at a small position.

If you're an individual investor, it's worth noting that Cramer does not recommend trading nat gas or any commodity other than gold. "It's simply too risky," he says.

Cramer thinks the important takeaway for individual investors is the idea that even though Garner believes natural gas will rally later this year, she thinks it will be rallying from a lower level, possibly a much lower level.

"That's crucial," Cramer explained, "because cheap energy, and specifically cheap natural gas, is one of my favorite themes for 2013. The low price may be horrible for producers, but it's terrific for consumers like the chemical companies."

On Thursday January 10th Cramer said his favorite names in the chemical space were Dow Chemical, PPG, Westlake, Eastman Chemical and Lyondell-Basell.

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