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August Natural Gas Called Higher as Forecasts Modestly Warmer

August natural gas futures were set to open Wednesday about 1.9 cents higher at around $2.807/MMBtu with overnight forecasts stable and analysts looking for cash strength and profit-taking to potentially push prices higher early in the session.

Bespoke Weather Services said long-range forecasts trended modestly warmer overnight.

“Model guidance overnight backed off some of the cooler trends we have been seeing temporarily, with long-range forecasts showing cooling demand slightly above average again as heat appeared to linger across the South,” the firm said. August gas prices are “bouncing off” the addition of gas-weighted degree days (GWDD) “after being hit lower the last couple of days on further GWDD losses.

“Prices are approaching critical support around the $2.75 level, and with cash prices very firm such early strength at the front of the strip is not surprising,” Bespoke said. Similar to Tuesday, “we could see further upside over the next couple hours to $2.82 or even $2.85 with any significant cash strength.”

The January contract managed to “just barely” stay above $3.00 during Tuesday’s session, which saw the prompt-month fall 4.0 cents to break support at $2.80, according to EBW Analytics Group CEO Andy Weissman.

Weissman said the forecast Wednesday morning was “little changed” overall. “This could lead to a modest push higher early in the day as traders with short positions take profits” before Thursday’s Energy Information Administration storage report.

“As on most Wednesdays, however, any price change is likely to be modest,” he said. “Further, support for the January contract near $3.00 is expected to be strong, potentially helping to buttress the near-term contracts until the expected return to more normal weather later this month is confirmed.”

Radiant Solutions reported small adjustments to its latest six- to 10-day and 11-15 day forecasts Wednesday. In the six- to 10-day period, “a small warm change is made to the forecast in the West, but model divergence in the Midwest and East has our forecast holding at similar levels as previous.”

In the 11-15 day, Radiant said its forecast “features a mix of small changes, leaning hotter in the West and Texas but cooler in the upper Midwest.”

After Tuesday’s sell-off, analysts with Rafferty Commodities Group pegged $2.818 as minor resistance, with $2.873/2.885/2.892 serving as major resistance. The firm listed $2.783 as minor support, with major support at $2.723/2.686.

August crude oil was set to open about 83 cents lower at around $73.28/bbl, while August RBOB gasoline was trading about 2.4 cents lower at around $2.1366/gal.

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