October natural gas is set to open 2 cents lower Wednesday morning as overnight data suggested continued cooling in eastern and Midwest energy markets. Overnight oil markets were mixed.
Overnight weather models continued the trend of overall cooling with a warm West and temperate East. "Temperatures from the Intermountain West through south-central U.S. are a little cooler in today's forecast," said WSI Corp. in a morning six- to 10-day report. Population-weighted cooling degree days “for the period are 36 which is one cooler than yesterday and one below normal.” Continental United States gas-weighted heating degree days “are eight."
Risks to the forecast include temperatures running cooler than forecast across the eastern half of the country under an amplified and redeveloping trough. "The West Coast may run warmer under a strong ridge aloft, particularly depending on how much any onshore flow will abate," WSI said.
In its 7 a.m. CDT report the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said still Tropical Storm Harvey was located 25 miles west northwest of Lake Charles, LA and was sporting winds of 45 mph. Progress was noted in a northerly direction at 7 mph and the storm along with drenching rain is expected to move north-northeastward later this morning, and then a northeastward motion at a faster forward speed is expected through Thursday night. On the forecast track, the center of Harvey will move across the Lower Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley through Thursday, NHC said.
Market technicians see conditions in place where prices could still work lower as the bullish argument is not fully in place. "Despite the slow progress bulls are still in a position to grind out a seasonal bottom," said Brian LaRose, analyst with United ICAP in closing comments. "But I want to see several things happen to build confidence in $2.753 representing a low. Top on my list are one, a breach of $3.114-3.123 by the October contract, two a breach of $.380-.403 in the March/April spread, and three, a breach of the $2.991/3.010 highs in the April contract. Have no reason to seriously entertain a recovery otherwise."
In its Early View survey The Desk's sample of 11 traders and analysts showed an average 32 Bcf injection, and since the five-year average stands at 67 Bcf, the storage build threatens to put storage close to the five-year average, which at 3,125 Bcf is just 45 Bcf greater than the five-year norm. The range on the survey was 27 Bcf to 35 Bcf.
In overnight Globex trading October crude oil fell 37 cents to $46.07/bbl and October RBOB gasoline rose 5 cents to $1.6502/gal.