April natural gas is set to open 10 cents higher Wednesday morning at $2.92 as weather models flip to a colder pattern next week in key eastern markets. Overnight oil markets were mixed.
Weather models overnight introduced a significant cold system for next week. "A potential weekend winter system for the southern Midwest to Middle Atlantic has essentially gone away, but a new storm that takes aim more toward the Northeast early to middle next week seems to get much stronger on the latest models, which helps to amplify a bigger cold upper level trough over the Eastern U.S. for a longer period of time next week," said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group in a morning forecast to clients.
"This leads to bigger colder changes in the six- to 10-day (Mon-Fri) for the Midwest and East as well as some colder changes into the Deep South as the West ticks a bit warmer."
Followers of Elliott Wave and Retracement see bears on the defensive. "Seasonally, this is the time of year where are actively searching for evidence of bottoming action," said Brian LaRose, market technician at United ICAP in closing comments Tuesday. "At present, there is not enough evidence to suggest $2.641 marked the end of an ABC pattern down from the $3.994 high. So fresh lows are still possible from here. However, I would emphasize that the current wave count suggests any fresh lows are likely to be marginal. Bears take note."
The EIA acknowledged what every market bear has known for some time in its Tuesday release of the Short Term Energy Outlook. It revised its Henry Hub 2017 spot price down to $3.03 from $3.43 a month ago, and 2018 was revised down to $3.45 from $3.70. EIA contends, however, that new natural gas export capabilities and growing domestic natural gas consumption are expected to drive the higher prices in 2018.
Weather trumps everything, even lower production and supply.
"U.S. dry gas production was 2.73 Bcf/d lower than a year earlier, net pipeline imports were 1.30 Bcf per day lower than last year, and net LNG exports were 1.74 Bcf per day more than a year ago," Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective said in a note to clients.
"On a combined basis that was 5.81 Bcf/d less supply. However, demand of 83.95 Bcf/d was 7.72 Bcf/d lower than last year, outpacing the decline in supply and allowing the storage surplus to rebuild."
In overnight Globex trading April crude oil fell 58 cents to $52.56/bbl and April RBOB gasoline added a penny to $1.6878/gallon.