November natural gas is set to open a penny higher Tuesday morning at $3.57 as traders prepare for options expiration and factor in a shot of cold weather in key eastern and western markets. Overnight oil markets rose.
Analysts aren't willing to give up on any chance of a seasonal rally, at least not yet. "The market’s expectation of a normal build in heating demand during November typically is sufficient to keep the front of the futures curve supported as the industry transitions into the winter season," said Teri Viswanath, director of natural gas strategy at BNP Paribas. "However, despite the looming shortfall in end-of-summer inventories, more supply is anticipated to be available this winter to meet peak heating demand requirements. Thanks to nearly a dozen new pipeline expansions, focused on removing bottlenecks in the Marcellus region, consumers could potentially access 2 Bcf/d of additional supplies over the next few months. To be sure, our analysis suggests that the new take-away capacity will enable domestic production to increase 4.25 Bcf/d over the winter compared to year-ago levels.
"The likelihood that the fundamental balance in the industry will slip back into a surplus in 2015 has set a rather bearish tone to the heating season ahead. It is interesting to note, however, that the market made a similar early bearish call on the winter of 2010/2011, only to see the front of the curve gain 20% from the October lows to the peak prices recorded in January. So without further verification of the winter weather ahead, it might be a bit premature to write-off the season at this juncture," she said in a note Monday to clients.
Joe Bastardi, meteorologist with WeatherBELL Analytics, in a 20-day forecast pointed to the ECMWF (European) weather model and is anticipating below-normal temperatures in the East and West and snow at certain eastern points. The forecast shows below-normal temperatures concentrated in the Mid-Atlantic and northern California with a fairway of above-normal temperatures running from the upper Midwest to the Gulf in between. "This is a major cold shot and what will be a major early season snow event from the mountains of West Virginia into New England. Accumulating snows could get to the coast as far south as New Jersey. I think at the least, from DC to Boston, flakes are seen this weekend. The farther northeast you go, the more the snow," he said.
In overnight Globex trading, December crude oil added 40 cents to $81.40/bbl. and December RBOB gasoline gained a half cent to $2.1390/gal.