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Minor Weather Changes Noted, Yet November Seen 4 Cents Higher

November natural gas is set to open 4 cents higher Tuesday morning at $2.48 in spite of only minor adjustments to near-term weather outlooks and a looming record storage inventory. Overnight oil markets gained.

Weather forecasts were only slightly changed overnight. "Mixed changes are noted [Tuesday] with relatively small stuff compared to yesterday's bigger weekend adjustments," said Commodity Weather Group in its Tuesday morning report to clients. "The East Coast is generally slightly cooler, while California is warmer to hotter in the six-10 day range. The Midwest is slightly warmer early in the six-10 day and then stronger with cooling by late. The 11-15 day is cooler early and then progresses a bit warmer later.

"Overnight model consensus sees slight demand gain: The American and Canadian ensembles were net cooler overnight with demand gains while the European was slightly warmer (although still cooler than 24 hours ago)," said Matt Rogers, president of the firm.

In major energy markets the focus is now entirely on heating requirements, and if forecasts by the National Weather Service (NWS) are correct for the week ended Oct. 24, significant heating load has yet to appear. NWS forecasts that New England should see 124 HDDs or six above normal, and the Mid-Atlantic is expected to endure 97 HDD or five below normal. The greater Midwest from Ohio to Wisconsin is expected to experience just 66 HDD or 43 below normal.

Analysts see a looming 4 Tcf ending storage inventory as weighing on prices. "[M]any views are advising a return to a broad-based slightly above normal temperature pattern that could return by late next week with extension into early November," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a Tuesday morning report to clients. "The market also appears to be pricing in a storage injection on Thursday that won't vary far from normal or average increases near the mid-80 Bcf area.

"But even allowing for a stall in the expansion of the supply surplus, we still see achievement of a record 4 Bcf level during the first half of next month that could place renewed pressures on the spread curve in forcing nearby values into new low territory. Average weekly injections of only around 66 Bcf will be required during the coming four weeks to achieve 4 Tcf and current temperature views would appear accommodating in this regard."

In overnight Globex trading November crude oil gained 2 cents to $45.91/bbl and November RBOB gasoline rose fractionally to $1.2565/gal.

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