August natural gas is expected to open unchanged Monday morning at $2.77 as traders note no substantive changes to the near-term weather outlook. Overnight oil markets softened.
Weather forecasters are calling for a slight cooling overall in Monday morning's forecast. WSI Corp. said, "Today's six-10 day period forecast is warmer over the interior West, Plains, Midwest and Great Lakes to account for the timing of a potential cold front. The West Coast, north Rockies and the East Coast is a bit cooler. As a result, PWCDDs are down 0.9 to 56.9 for the CONUS. Forecast confidence is only average at best. There is reasonable model agreement with the large-scale pattern, but uncertainty with the timing of fronts and unsettled weather across the Plains, Midwest and Northeast. There is also increasing uncertainty with the upstream Pacific pattern due in part to WestPac tropical activity.
"The active and changeable pattern, as well as the expected negative EPO pattern support a risk to the cooler side across the Rockies and the central U.S."
Energy Metro Desk in its Early View forecast of the week's storage figures showed an average 70 Bcf with a range of 65 Bcf to 74 Bcf. Last year 102 Bcf was injected, and the five-year pace is 75 Bcf.
Mike DeVooght, president of DEVO Capital Management, is standing aside the market for now, both for speculative and hedge accounts. "Moderate temperatures and adequate supplies continue to keep the gas market on the defensive," he said in a weekly note to clients. He recommends traders, producers and end-users hold no positions for now.
Walter Zimmermann, vice president at United ICAP, said, "The key to trading natgas is to forget that the years 2000 to 2009 ever existed. The precedent for today is 1996 to 2000, and post 2009."
In his view, the market is "still congesting. Even the most wild at heart markets are capable of prolonged bursts of price stability, [and] that has been the case for natgas since late January of this year. [We] see more of the same ahead. For now. There is often an uptick in volatility before a market breaks down from a trading range. There is no such evidence in the case of natgas."
In overnight Globex trading August crude oil fell 61 cents to $59.02/bbl and August RBOB gasoline shed a penny to $2.0125/gal.