August natural gas is set to open a penny lower Monday morning at $2.77 as traders mull a supportive technical environment and a storage picture that continues ever leaner. Overnight oil markets fell.
Market technicians are looking higher and see a decent chance the market has more room to the upside. "I remain unconvinced that natural gas has put in its seasonal peak," said Walter Zimmermann, vice president at United ICAP, in a weekly webcast.
"The technical case for $2.998 [late June] as the seasonal peak is unconvincing. We still have been unable to take out the 0.236 retracement, and natural gas bulls can now point to a bullish falling wedge pattern that failed to follow through on the downside, failed to take out the 0.236 retracement [300 minute chart] and Friday broke above the falling wedge resistance line.
"Even if this rebound from $2.625 [Thursday] is the bear market correction of this leg down, being natural gas, I would still expect it to see $2.86, I wouldn't be surprised to see $2.92, and I wouldn't be the least surprised to see natural gas trade $2.94 even if $2.998 was the seasonal peak."
With some of the record temperatures being recorded, it would seem that power burns would be at record levels as well. Not quite, says one power and gas consulting firm.
"Over the past week or so, the country's energy grid has been seeing record net load. In fact, the entire month has been running at a rate higher than what we saw last year during the month of June," said EnergyGPS, a Portland, OR-based analytics firm. "This is due to the heat bubble that sat over most of the country all month. California and the Pacific Northwest were the two regions shielded by the heat wave earlier in the month. That all started to change last week as Southern California's load shifted up with Burbank's highs over 100 degrees for a couple of days.
"Considering how much more net load demand there is on the grid at this time, one would think the power burns should be even stronger than the new record highs we saw last week. This is not the case as the renewable penetration on the grid is still impacting the overall net thermal demand, which turns out to be natural gas fired generation."
In its Early View sample of 10 traders Friday The Desk average for Thursday's storage report came in at 28 Bcf, well below last year and the five-year average of 52 Bcf.
In overnight Globex trading September crude oil fell 51 cents to $43.68/bbl and September RBOB gasoline shed two cents to $1.3419/gal.