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Traders Eye Buying Opportunity; November Seen A Penny Lower

November natural gas is set to open a penny lower Tuesday morning at $2.91 as weather forecasts prove of little consequence and traders mull purchases.

Weather forecasters see a modest incursion of cool air hitting the Northern Plains but "[Tuesday's] six- to 10-day forecast is warmer than yesterday's forecast across the southern and eastern U.S.," said WSI Corp. in its morning report to clients. "The western U.S. is cooler.” Continental United States population-weighted cooling degree days “are up 3 to 18.1, and” gas-weighted heating degree days “are down 2.7 to 22.6, which are still 16.3 below average.

"The timing and details with the pending cool shot and a potential tropical disturbance could cause the forecast to waver in either direction, especially on a localized/regional basis," WSI said.

Gas buyers for electrical generation across the broad MISO footprint will have only modest amounts of renewables to offset gas purchases. "Look for a highly unsettled pattern across the pool this week as a frontal boundary gradually pushes southward and a series of low pressure waves travel along it. The timing of the showers and storms will be the most difficult aspect of the forecast across any one region.

"As a front cuts across the pool, wind generation will markedly decrease the next few days with peaks of less than 3 GW Wednesday-Thursday. However, peaks in generation should increase to 5-8 GW for Thursday night-Saturday."

Traders see the recent price weakness as a buying opportunity. "The start of this new week and quarter saw some bearish vibes with nearby futures posting lowest levels since early August," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a morning note to clients. "Although some bearish spillover from the sharp selloff in the petroleum was evidenced, we are not seeing enough of a bearish shift in the weekend updates to the one to two week temperature views to facilitate much additional selling.

"Recent chart damage has encouraged the money managers to gravitate further into the short side as indicated by an approximate 35,000 contract addition to non-commercial net short holdings. Some of [Monday's] selling appeared to be signaled by the market's inability to advance off of a seemingly bullish [Energy Information Administration] storage report last Thursday. Additionally, elevated production remains as a background bearish consideration. However, we are suggesting purchases within the $2.90-2.95 zone given the fact that a small storage surplus against five year averages is apt to shrink further going forward to around 10 Bcf.”

In overnight Globex trading November crude oil fell 32 cents to $50.26/bbl and November RBOB gasoline fell a penny to $1.5480/gal.

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