Speculators Are Driving Natural Gas Prices DOWN, Not Up, Reflecting Market Forces: Supply, Demand
Despite claims to the contrary, commodity prices in both the spot market and futures market are ultimately determined by the twin market forces of supply and demand, and cannot easily be manipulated to deviate from the overwhelming, natural and powerful forces of market fundamentals.
When natural gas prices are falling, it's a sure bet that increases in supply and/or decreases in demand, e.g. due to mild weather, are responsible. When oil prices are rising, it's a sure bet that decreases or potential disruptions in supply and/or rising demand are responsible. If speculators bet against market forces and the direction of prices resulting from those forces, it's likely they'll get punished with losses.
On the other hand, if they correctly predict the pending effects of market forces on future price changes in oil or gas ahead of other traders, they could be rewarded with gains; but it's because they're betting on the market, not against market forces. It's also a sure bet that we'd have high spot oil prices and low spot natural gas prices right now due to market forces, regardless of whether the CME offered futures contracts on those commodities.