December natural gas was set to open about 6 cents lower Monday at around $3.04 amid mixed signals in the weather data and some uncertainty about the extent of a cold pattern expected to move in at the start of December.
"The weekend weather data maintained the timeline of major weather systems set to impact the U.S. through the end of the month, although with slight adjustments, and likely seen as trending a touch milder overall," said NatGasWeather.com in a weekend update to clients.
"At issue is each system has been bouncing around on just how much cold air over Canada they will draw across the border into the U.S. with some tapping greater amounts than others, but likely seen as not quite as cold compared to what the data showed Friday."
NatGasWeather said a break in the cold from Nov. 30 to Dec. 1 would follow "before the next cold shot pushes into the northern and central U.S., but with considerable uncertainty if it will reach the East...The early December pattern would need to trend colder to impress, and while there are still many solutions that suggest cold continues, there's not enough evidence for it, which could lead the markets to being disappointed colder patterns didn't gain momentum."
Bespoke Weather Services said it viewed the weekend weather data as trending "in relatively mixed directions," including the American Global Ensemble Forecast System showing "increased ridging across the Southeast to increase bearish risks for the eastern United States, yet at the same time increased ridging over Alaska that would seem to increase the amount of cold risks in the center of the country.
"...The long-range pattern is one with gas-weighted degree days slightly below average, but there are now clear risks on the models for colder trends through the week even though verbatim output right now is rather warm and bearish."
Bespoke is maintaining a neutral sentiment for now, viewing the $2.98-3.00 area as support.
December crude oil was set to open about 31 cents lower at around $56.24/bbl. In weekend trading, December RBOB Gasoline was down fractionally to around $1.7371/gal.