March natural gas is expected to open 5 cents lower Tuesday morning at $1.91 as traders reconcile weather models showing warming trends out to the end of the month. Overnight oil markets fell.
Over the weekend, Chicago's highs only reached 19, and Monday's high is expected to reach 34, about normal for this time of year. Going forward, forecasters are expecting a warming trend. Commodity Weather Group in its Monday morning outlook said, "The big picture over the next two weeks is one of seasonal to above-normal temperature ranges nationally with some fairly big transient warmings at times for the Midwest, East and South, while colder periods are even briefer and weaker on the whole.
"The models offer a range, with the American operational models occasionally showing stronger cold threats and the more conservative American ensembles showing closer to climatology (normal) for the Midwest to East in the six-15 day more frequently. We are mostly concerned about warmer risks, thanks to a very negative Southern Oscillation Index reading (-38 this morning), which typically indicates stronger/warmer El Nino forcing influences in the next two weeks' window," said Matt Rogers, president of the firm.
Forecasts for 2016 continue to ratchet lower, with a strong recovery seen by 2H2016. Societe Generale said in a report Friday, "The softer than expected storage draw reported this morning [Thursday] provided just enough more bearish sentiment into the market to drive the price back under the $2/MMBtu threshold.
"We are not surprised by the move given the year-on-year storage surplus increased again off this number and aggregate storage has returned to making new historical records," said Societe Generale analyst Breanne Dougherty. "While we still expect to exit March at a level lower than the record set in 2012, with not that many weeks left in the withdrawal season we have to acknowledge that the exit will inevitably be very strong.
"We think this high exit, combined with our expectation that it might prove difficult to spur incremental power loads in spring considering the high baseload that has already been adopted by gas supports a slightly softer price outlook through the end of the year.
"We have revised down our remainder Cal '16 price average by 23 cents, but we hold our 2 Act Story: disproportionate downside 1H2016, more constructive 2H2016." Societe Generale forecasts a Q3 Henry Hub price of $2.77 and Q4 of $3.15.
In overnight Globex trading March crude oil fell 6 cents to $29.38/bbl and March RBOB gasoline lost 2 cents to $1.0197/gal.