May natural gas is expected to open 3 cents higher Wednesday morning at $2.03 as traders adjust positions ahead of what is expected to be a supportive inventory report Thursday. Overnight oil markets fell.
Analysts admit there were no weather events in play Tuesday. "There haven't been any bullish weather trends in the early morning or mid-day weather data to justify today's move as the weather data continues to show a very comfortable U.S. pattern setting up across much of the country starting later this week and lasting through the end of April," said Natgasweather.com in a noon Tuesday update.
"Specifically, a cool front is pushing through the East Coast with showers and thunderstorms, with only modest cooling behind it. Additional rains are also falling over the southern U.S., where a weak cool front remains stalled."
The market reverberated back to the upside, "supported by a DOE forecast for lower production and short-covering ahead of a Thursday storage report for the week ended April 8 expected to show little net change but a supportive comparison to the 22 Bcf five-year average net injection," said Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective in closing comments to clients Tuesday.
Evans calculates a 9 Bcf withdrawal for the week's EIA storage report and compares it to a 49 Bcf build last year and a five-year average 22 Bcf increase.
Technical analysts are thinking that the recent advance in natural gas prices may be more in sympathy with the rest of the petroleum complex rather than a legitimate move higher.
"I'm really inclined to believe that this is more of a residual after effect to the climb in the rest of the energy complex than it is necessarily long-term bottoming action," said Brian LaRose, an analyst with United ICAP, in a Tuesday webcast.
He said a legitimate bottom couldn't be ruled out, and "all bottoms have to start somewhere, but the fits and starts in this advance have not exactly inspired confidence."
In overnight Globex trading May crude oil slid 57 cents to $41.60/bbl and May RBOB gasoline fell a penny and a half to $1.5181/gal.