December natural gas is set to open 10 cents lower Tuesday morning at $4.15 as traders concede the end of the current price advance for the moment, yet ponder continuing cold. Overnight oil markets were narrowly lower.
Analysts suggest the futures price gains may be over for a while. "[Monday's] approximate four-and-a-half month highs followed by a close below Friday’s low strongly suggests that this rally has run its course," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates.
"But, while some private forecasts may be advising some temperature moderation by late next week, views that we monitor still appear bullish with large deviations from normal extending across an unusually large portion of the nation,” he said. “We are reluctant to read too much into today’s price as the magnitude of this recent advance is keeping long holders anxious to accept partial profits. But, while highs have likely been placed, we are leaving open the possibility of another run at the $4.55 resistance if cold weather views are extended further into the final week of this month."
That cold may just be forthcoming. Joe Bastardi, meteorologist with WeatherBELL Analytics, says "There is not much doubt about the vigor of the cold in the coming 10 days, [and overnight] ECMWF [European Model] Weeklies colder again than previous run, [but] ECMWF keeps flipping around."
At present there doesn't seem to be any clear end in sight to the cold onslaught. "Looking at the other map background, there is a major change in the Gulf of Alaska, but I think this is a jailbreak occurring! By Day 15 a rapidly progressing ridge is building rapidly eastward through the Gulf of Alaska," said Bastardi.
"This may be headed for western Canada. In the meantime the deep trough in the nation's midsection is forcing ridging to its northeast which should get ‘squeezed’ northwestward in the means. The entire jet energy that is coming through the Northwest may then cave into the mean trough over the nation's midsection. While people may be thinking this model is signaling the end, it may be simply a reload."
Tom Saal, vice president at INTL FC Stone, in his work with Market Profile says to look for the market to test Monday's value area at $4.425 to $4.313. "Maybe" the market will test $4.029 to $3.997, he said in a morning report to clients.
In overnight Globex trading December crude oil eased 4 cents to $77.36/bbl and December RBOB gasoline fell a penny to $2.0907/gallon.