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Traders Looking Higher, But October Seen 3 Cents Lower

October natural gas is expected to open 3 cents lower Friday morning at $2.56 even though traders see market attention shifting to a more bullish perspective. Overnight oil markets gained.

October options expire Friday, Sept. 25; futures expire Monday, Sept. 28.

Analysts are viewing the market's ability to ignore a seemingly bearish storage report Thursday as a sign that further declines are unlikely. "[W]e still see the ability to easily absorb yesterday's seemingly bearish EIA storage figure as evidence that this bear market may be approaching completion," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a Friday morning note to clients. "While it is premature to rule out one more round of fresh lows by a slight margin, we are maintaining a view that upside price risk is exceeding that to the downside by a ratio of at least two to one.

"[W]hile unusually mild temperature expectations during the next two weeks will be sharply limiting accumulation of either HDDs or CDDs, we feel that these weather views have been fully priced. In other words, a couple more triple-digit storage builds would appear to lie ahead but also have likely been discounted. From here, we feel that market surprises are much more apt to be bullish than bearish and that the large speculative presence on the short side will be accentuating upside price response to seemingly minor supportive headlines."

Gas buyers working the MISO footprint for the weekend will have some healthy wind generation to offset purchases. WSI Corp. in its Friday morning report said, "High pressure will briefly nose into the power pool today but will begin to erode during the weekend. A developing southerly flow around the departing area of high pressure will likely lead to another surge of above-average warmth with highs in the mid 70s and 80s. A cold front is expected to sag southward into the north-central U.S. early next week with a chance of showers.

"Relatively light and changeable wind generation is expected today. A developing southerly flow will cause wind gen to increase during the weekend. Output will occasionally top out in excess of 5-6 GW. After a brief lull, a surge of northerly winds should provide another boost in wind gen early next week."

Further out, WSI Corp. said, "The six-10 day period forecast is sharply cooler across the eastern half of the nation when compared to previous forecasts with near to slightly below average temps. Portions of the West and Southwest are a bit warmer. PWCDDs are down 1.3 to 19.9. HDDs jumped 7.7 to 19.1 for the CONUS."

In overnight Globex trading November crude oil rose 37 cents to $45.28/bbl and November RBOB gasoline rose fractionally to $1.3516/gal.

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