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July Natural Gas Called Lower as Forecasts Maintain Long-Range Cooler Risks

July natural gas was set to open Wednesday about 1.7 cents lower at around $2.886/MMBtu following Tuesday’s 6-cent sell-off, with forecasts overnight carrying similar themes of near-term heat and cooler risks for later in June.

The June contract rolled off the board Tuesday at $2.875, dropping 6.4 cents on the day as forecasters pointed to a milder long-range temperature outlook.

“Overnight forecasts remained quite similar as we watched European guidance tick just a bit cooler,” while Global Ensemble Forecast System guidance trended slightly warmer, Bespoke Weather Services said Wednesday. “This has us still see risk skewed in the cooler direction by the second week of June, and heat looks to peak through the next few days where we could see a day or two of record” gas-weighted degree days (GWDD).

“Confidence from there is high that GWDDs fall back to around average, though lingering heat across the South and Southeast through the middle of June should keep GWDDs from falling much below average.”

NatGasWeather.com similarly pointed to comfortable temperatures forecast across the northern and eastern United States for the second week of June as likely to leave the markets unimpressed.

“Going forward, hot conditions over Texas, the Plains and the South will drive a majority of the nation’s demand, although likely seen offsetting by lighter than normal demand over the important Great Lakes and East regions June 8-13,” NatGasWeather said. “We then look to June 15-18 for better chances of heat building over the East, but with much more to prove.”

This week’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report should ease deficits slightly, according to the firm.

“Deficits are then expected to increase modestly off next week’s report as it factors in recent heat over the central and southern U.S., including highs of 90s for several days in Chicago,” NatGasWeather said. “We believe this will keep a bullish background environment in place until record production shows signs of reducing deficits on a consistent weekly basis, which we don’t expect any time soon.”

Late last week The Desk’s Early View natural gas storage survey showed respondents on average anticipating a 102.3 Bcf build from this week’s EIA report, with a median of 101 Bcf. The Intercontinental Exchange EIA Financial Weekly Index settled Tuesday at an injection of 100 Bcf for Thursday’s report.

Last year EIA recorded an 80 Bcf injection, and the five-year average is an injection of 97 Bcf.

July crude oil was set to open about 47 cents higher at around $67.20/bbl, while June RBOB gasoline was trading about 2 cents higher at around $2.1640/gal.

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