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Bears Stirring on Lower Demand, Seasonal Price Window; June Called 3 Cents Lower

June natural gas is expected to open 3 cents lower Monday morning at $2.07 as traders factor in lower near-term demand and a seasonal price-peaking window. Overnight oil markets rose.

Soft near-term demand is likely to put pressure on spot prices. Industry consultant Genscape in a Monday morning report said, "Demand will remain weak on a national basis this week as Lower 48 population-weighted temperatures run well below seasonal norms through Friday. Genscape's meteorologic team's forecast expects Lower 48 cooling degree days (CDD) will average -34.1 today versus the normal of +10.4. CDDs remain in negative territory in the forecast until Saturday.

"In New England, the CDDs have been low enough to resume heating demand, which lifted regional demand to 2.77 Bcf/d today. However, the forecast calls for modest warming, which will push demand lower on a daily basis to a low of 1.59 Bcf/d by Saturday. Appalachia, Midwest and Southeast-Mid-Atlantic demand are also forecast to drop daily to Saturday lows of 5.09 Bcf/d, 6.6 Bcf/d, and 11.1 Bcf/d, respectively.

"Out west, where temperatures are running close to seasonal norms, demand is projected to hold flat through the week."

Seasonal parameters also suggest lower pricing. Analysis shows that the seasonal window for a decline in natural gas prices is here. "For the years 1990 through 2014, the average seasonal decline in spot natgas has been a 34% loss is spot contract value from a 14 May peak to a 17 August low," said Walter Zimmermann, vice president at United ICAP.

"So the bear case for natgas is the case for a spring to summer seasonal decline. The big question is whether there are still too many shorts on board to allow for such a decline," he said in a weekly report to clients.

Tom Saal, vice president at FCStone Latin America LLC in Miami, in his work with Market Profile is looking for the market to test last week's value area at $2.172 to $2.118 and "maybe" test $1.926 to $1.878.

In overnight Globex trading June crude oil rose 92 cents to $47.13/bbl and June RBOB gasoline added 2 cents to $1.6156/gal.

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