April natural gas was set to open Friday about 1.5 cents higher at around $2.713 as overnight weather guidance showed more cold lingering in the East toward the middle of March.
“After the data trended milder numerous times over the past 10 days without resulting in sustained selling, a little colder trend Thursday seemed to add a few cents to gains,” NatGasWeather.com said in an early morning note Friday. “The overnight weather data maintained colder trends March 11-16 over the eastern U.S. by being slower in the way a strengthening ridge over the central and eastern U.S. advances eastward.
“With the ridge stalling in expanding into the East, it provides opportunity for below normal temperatures to linger over the East Coast a couple days longer through March 13-14.”
Bespoke Weather Services said the overnight changes returned a few gas-weighted degree days (GWDD) to its latest 15-day outlook.
“Though the pattern beyond March 10 does not look all that impressive,” it’s cold enough that “the result is an expectation that over the next 15 days we will see heating demand solidly above average nationally, and though the long-range will not be as cold as we saw last year the warm pattern we see for the second half of March may take a bit longer to get established,” Bespoke said Friday.
“...With balance still where it is and the natural gas strip showing strength yet again...we see a good chance that we finally test that $2.75 resistance level before the weekend,” the firm added. “We will need to add a few more GWDDs to break it we would expect, and once weather flips or the market loosens, prices pull back quickly, but the bias remains slightly to the upside.”
From a technical standpoint, ICAP Technical Analysis analyst Brian LaRose said he suspects natural gas will need to “better $2.774-2.797-2.823 for the bulls to have a shot at a more upward trajectory rather than a sideways trajectory.
“As long as natural gas is stuck in a slow grinding expanding triangle type formation I am inclined to treat this drift as a temporary rest stop in a continuing down trend,” LaRose said. “However, bears still need to crack $2.565 to send natural gas lower. For now, we sit tight.”
April crude oil was set to open about 17 cents lower at around $60.82/bbl, while April RBOB gasoline was down about 2 cents to around $1.8764/gal.