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Bearish Factors Aligning, Yet May Seen 2 Cents Higher

May natural gas is expected to open 2 cents higher Tuesday morning at $3.15 in spite of a weak weather landscape and a technical outlook that is losing some of its appeal. Overnight oil markets advanced.

There was no observable trend in overnight weather data. "There are numerous day to day changes to the 6-10 day period forecast that more or less offset each other," said WSI Corp. in its morning report to clients. "CONUS GWHDDs are up 1.2 to 45.9, which are 22.4 below average. PWCDDs are 5.3."

WSI said that confidence in the forecast was only average, and "It's the time of the year before spring greening when a southwest-west wind can support a warmer risk over the Mid West, Northeast and Mid Atlantic.”

Analysts see the likelihood of any significant price advance unlikely as a combination of a soft weather outlook, building storage surplus, anticipated growth in production, and weak power demand all conspire to keep a lid on prices if not encourage a correction. "Mild temperature forecasts projected out over the next couple of weeks should diminish both HDD and CDD accumulation in allowing the injection season to kick off with some comparatively strong storage builds," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a morning note to clients.

"Thursday's EIA report will likely be posting the first of such increases as we look for the 250 Bcf surplus against 5 year averages to see a boost to almost 275 Bcf. Although not a major supply overhang, it should prove sufficient to provide a cushion against any late spring cold spells or sustained early summer hot conditions. But, in the background, we see a bearish element gradually evolving in which the production gap against high levels of a year ago will be slowly closing as the more than doubling of oil and gas rig counts begins to translate to stronger gas output. Should power demand slacken significantly as we expect, balances could loosen enough to preclude a return in nearby futures north of the $3.25 area short of some sustained hot spells."

In overnight Globex trading May crude oil rose 35 cents to $50.59/bbl and May RBOB gasoline added a penny to $1.7030/gal.

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