November natural gas is expected to open 8 cents lower Monday morning at $3.69 as traders see little evidence of cold weather emerging by November, and mull the prospects for an extended refill season. Overnight oil markets rose.
Weather-wise, traders are still looking for that elusive forecast of a cold winter-like pattern. Not yet. Natgasweather.com said Friday that "Re-enforcing cool surges will sweep through the Great Lakes Region and Northeast into early [this] week, with lows dropping into the 30s and 40s, locally below freezing to drive moderate demand for early season heating.
"However, the rest of the U.S. will be relatively comfortable as high pressure expands to cover many northern U.S. regions by late in the week, providing several days where only light national heating or cooling demand will be needed," the forecaster said. "It will be important to watch weather patterns after late [this] week as there could be increasing chances colder northern Canadian air tries to advance toward the U.S., with the earliest it would arrive being at the end of October or in early November. The weather models are struggling on the early November pattern, and it will take a bit more time for the weather and climate data to become more consistent. However, we do think there is greater potential for more impressive winter-type weather systems beginning around this time, and it will be important they come through as the five-year average weekly builds will be dropping and colder weather patterns will need to keep pace to prevent additional gains on deficits."
Risk managers are looking for a spot to initiate short hedges. "Normally, the gas market is well supported as we approach the heat season. The fact that we are moving lower at this time, is of concern if you are a bull," said Mike DeVooght, president of DEVO Capital Management. "If we break the $3.70 level, we could see a quick break to the $3.50 level. It has been our thought that if the market breaks from current levels, the break should be viewed as a buying opportunity in the January and February contracts.
"However, because of the lack of strength in the market, we would initiate the buys with a collar (buying calls and selling puts), rather than fixed price. For producers, we will hope for a rally, to reestablish our short hedges that have expired. We will look to do so in the mid $4.00 range."
In overnight Globex trading November crude oil rose 22 cents to $82.97/gal and November RBOB gasoline added a penny to $2.2399/gal.