June natural gas is set to open unchanged Wednesday morning at $2.16 as traders balance a moderately supportive government forecast with seasonal weather. Overnight oil markets rose.
Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective said, "The natural gas market stepped higher on Tuesday, garnering support from both the day-to-day change in the near-term temperature outlook and a constructive DOE Short-Term Energy Outlook."
The new EIA forecast added some bullish tonality to the market. In its Short Term Energy Outlook it raised its forecast of Henry Hub spot price to average $2.25/MMBtu in 2016 and $3.02/MMBtu in 2017, compared with an average of $2.63/MMBtu in 2015.
Q2 2016 Henry Hub was lifted from $1.81 to $2.02 and Q3 was revised to $2.34 from $2.28. Q4 was unchanged at $2.65.
Although shoulder season weather has limited near-term price-driving capability, warmer or cooler trends can impact long-term storage balances and ultimately influence prices. Natgasweather.com in a noon Tuesday update said, "there's a weather system tracking across the north-central U.S. with heavy showers and thunderstorms, with even snowfall into the northern Rockies. In addition, a weak cool blast is also exiting New England. A fresh weather system will track into the northern Rockies and Plains Wednesday while beginning to tap a heftier dose of cooler Canadian air.
"Cooler air will then fan out across the Great Lakes, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this weekend for slightly stronger than normal demand and an increase of several HDDs. After the weekend cool blast sweeps through, temperatures will slowly moderate over the northern U.S. next week back into the 60s and 70s, but still with the potential for some cooler air over Canada to occasional spill just across the U.S. border into the Great Lakes and interior Northeast regions."
Tom Saal, vice president at FCStone Latin America LLC in Miami, in his work with Market Profile said to look for the market to test Tuesday's value area at $2.163 to $2.147 and then $2.112 to $2.096. Saal identifies the week's initial balance at $2.173 to $2.085, and a break above or below that range should be bought or sold accordingly.
In overnight Globex trading June crude oil added 20 cents to $44.86/bbl and June RBOB gasoline rose 2 cents to $1.5018/gal.