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Technical Picture Keeping Bears at Bay; June Called 3 Cents Higher

June natural gas is expected to open 3 cents higher Tuesday morning at $2.08 as traders see a steady technical picture and look beyond what looks to be an oversupplied market. Overnight oil markets advanced.

Analysts see the market in the longer term struggling to develop much in the way of upward momentum. "Attempting to develop a scenario that would carry nearby futures much more than 10-15 cents from current levels within the next couple of weeks remains difficult as the shoulder period moves into an advanced stage," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a Tuesday morning note to clients.

"Although some weekend updates to the short-term temperature views spiked a significant advance at the start of this week, these gains were erased as the specter of a near-record storage level remains as a deterrent to sustainable price strength. The weather factor that has generally tilted bullish in recent weeks given some HDD accumulation is generally being viewed as a necessary ingredient toward price stability as weekly injections will need to be downsized by around 20% during the next five months in order to preclude a challenge of storage capacity. So, short of a hot summer or some unexpected supply disruption, this market will have much difficulty piecing together a meaningful price advance."

Technical analysts don't see a meaningful advance either. "With a large shooting star top forming on the daily candlestick chart, there is a good chance we could be looking at lower prices in natgas as we head into June expiration," said Brian LaRose, a market technician with United ICAP.

"However, it is important to note that July is still commanding a 15-cent premium. So even if June dumps to the $1.903 vicinity, July is likely to hold $2, about where we are trading now. For that reason our trend will stay at neutral."

Gas buyers for Wednesday will have a number of weather patterns to deal with but little in the way of anything likely to materially affect demand. "Active weather will impact the Plains on Tuesday, while temperatures stay below normal over the West Coast," said Keri Strenfel, a Wunderground.com meteorologist.

Wind generation is expected to be light across MISO and "an area of low pressure will drift north northeast over southern New England. This system will usher showers and embedded thunderstorms across the northern Mid-Atlantic and New England. Showers and thunderstorms will also develop over the Florida Peninsula on Tuesday."

In overnight Globex trading July crude oil rose 17 cents to $48.25/bbl and July RBOB gasoline gained a penny to $1.6574/gal.

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