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Little Change In Weather Models; April Called Flat

April natural gas is set to open unchanged Friday morning at $2.90 as traders could find little change in near-term weather outlooks. Overnight oil markets rose.

Overnight weather models didn't change much. "Warmer changes in the short-term appear to be mostly associated with model overemphasis of snow cover impacts, but warmer changes in the six-10 day and 11-15 day are tied to storm track changes and a more active flow from the West," said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group, in a Friday morning report to clients.

"Most of the Midwest and East are still mostly near normal through the six-15 day range, with some colder lingering leans in the Northeast. Very warm conditions across the South are helping to offer up some early season afternoon cooling demand, especially toward the Texas side, where 80s could be more frequent."

Although Thursday's Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report swelled the year-on-five-year surplus to 395 Bcf, analysts are suspecting next week's report to provide a final last boost of weather support to the market.

"[W]hile the weather factor appears to be providing one last burst of support prior to the shoulder period, below-normal expectations during the next couple of weeks appear limited to the Northeast region, with most of the country showing little accumulation of HDDs or CDDs," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a Friday morning report to clients.

"But while yesterday's EIA storage report that was in line with average ideas may have been viewed as bearish with the surplus against five-year averages stretching by about 32 Bcf, the market is more focused on next week's report that could show a reduction of more than 30% in the surplus as a result of this week's cold trends within the eastern region."

Gas buyers for power generation across the ERCOT footprint over the weekend should have plenty of wind generation available to offset gas purchases.

"The tail end of a cold front will clip the state late tonight into Saturday with just a chance for a shower or thunderstorm," said WSI Corp. in a Friday morning report to clients. "This will knock temps down just a bit, but southerly winds and late spring like warmth will return during Sunday into early next week. Max temps will rise into the upper 70s, 80s to low 90s. Wind generation will subside later today and again early Saturday, but another pulse of southerly winds will lead to surge of wind gen late Saturday into Monday. Output is forecast to rise to 10-13 GW."

In overnight Globex trading April crude oil gained 21 cents to $48.96/bbl and April RBOB gasoline rose a penny to $1.6030/gal.

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