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Weather Bulls Can't Get A Break; April Seen 4 Cents Lower

April natural gas is set to open 4 cents lower Monday morning at $1.77 as weather outlooks continue to trend less toward less constructive, but risk managers are keeping their eye out for above-average temperatures this summer. Overnight oil markets rose.

Risk managers see no need to enter the market just yet but are looking for a warm summer. Mike DeVooght, president of DEVO Capital, a Colorado-based trading and risk management firm, in a weekly report to clients said, "The EIA storage numbers [last] week showed a smaller than expected draw. El Nino produced a warmer than normal winter, and there is a good chance we could experience above-average temperatures this summer. An anticipated warmer summer, along with short-covering, has helped the natural gas market to rally over the past couple weeks. On a trading basis we are standing on the sidelines for now."

Near-term weather outlooks moderated yet again. "It is a story we all know far too well. Whenever the pattern starts to look more constructive for more significant cooler to colder air transport, we tend to see it ultimately (a) underperform expectations and (b) underperform duration estimates," said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group. "The cooler to colder period that was lurking in the 11-15 day last week is now sitting cleanly inside the six-10 day focused toward the first days of April, and we are already tracking a re-warming pattern situation for the latest 11-15. A combination of warmer short-term conditions this week and a faster rebound warmer by the late 6-10 day into the 11-15 day contributes to bigger demand losses compared to the forecast before the three-day holiday weekend."

Analysts are estimating a storage draw report this week about in line with historical averages. Energy Metro Desk in its Early View survey of 10 traders and analysts Friday compiled an average 20 Bcf withdrawal. Last year 10 Bcf was withdrawn and the five-year average is a 22 Bcf pull.

Tom Saal, vice president at FCStone Latin America in Miami, in his work with Market Profile expects the market to test last week's value area at $1.868 to $1.810.

In overnight Globex trading May crude oil rose 44 cents to $39.90/bbl and May RBOB gasoline gained a cent and a half to $1.5097/gal.

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