November natural gas is seen opening 2 cents higher Monday morning at $2.52 as the market makes a somewhat tepid response to weather forecasts calling for much cooler temperatures. Overnight oil markets were mixed.
Overnight weather models ratcheted cooler in the near term. "[Monday's] forecast is much cooler than Friday's forecast during the front half of the period over the eastern two-thirds of the nation. The interior West and central U.S. is warmer, mainly late in the period," said forecaster WSI Corp. in its Monday morning report. "PWCDDs are down 1 to 10. GWHDDs jumped up 6.2 to 49.7.
"Forecast confidence is average as medium-range models are in good agreement with the changeable pattern. However, because there are plenty of moving parts and it is a very changeable pattern, confidence levels are limited. The forecast can sway in either direction. The Northeast, Southwest and even the north-central U.S. have risks to the cooler side. The West Coast and south-central U.S. could run warmer, mainly late in the period."
Risk managers and traders are patiently waiting for a spot to establish a long market position. "With moderate temperatures throughout much of the U.S., it is difficult to make a bullish argument for natural gas prices," said Mike DeVooght, president of DEVO Capital Management, in a weekend note to clients. "As we look forward to the heat season, which can often be supportive to the gas market, demand expectations have been ratcheted lower because of the El Nino.
"On a trade basis, we have been looking for an opportunity to get long the natural gas market but have not felt like we have yet reached the bottom of this move. We would start to be a light buyer if January reaches the $2.50 level."
In Friday's trading January settled at $2.857.
Bespoke Weather Services, a Harrison, NY-based weather trading firm, is looking for the cooler weather to lift the market, at least temporarily. "An impressive short-/medium-range cold shot should support prices through the coming week. However, long-term indications are that the pattern warms back up, limiting any potential rally through the week," the firm said in a weekend note to clients.
In overnight Globex trading November crude oil fell 6 cents to $49.57/bbl and November RBOB gasoline gained fractionally to $1.4206/gal.