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Weather Conditions Modest; May Seen Two Cents Lower

May natural gas is set to open 2 cents lower Wednesday morning at $3.27 as traders see little in the way of supportive weather developments and digest the market's current overbought condition. Overnight oil markets gained.

Forecasters call for no significant near-term weather events. "We continue to monitor a variable middle springtime pattern with mixed changes that frequently offset each other in this relatively low demand time of year," said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group in a morning note to clients.

"One quick spike of warmth we are watching for the Middle Atlantic early next week looks to peak on Tuesday, day 7, with lower to middle 80s from Washington, DC, to Philadelphia, but humidity remains on the low side to restrict any early-season cooling demand concerns at this point. Otherwise, the West is also warmer in the six-10 day with the South a bit cooler."

Forecaster Wunderground.com predicts that the high next Wednesday in New York City will be 73, nearly 20 degrees above normal. Chicago, on the other hand is expected to see a high of 49, six degrees below normal.

Analysts see Tuesday's double-digit advance as a function of technical and weather factors. "The natural gas market turned a successful defense of uptrend support into a rally to new highs on Tuesday, supported by a somewhat cooler six-10 temperature outlook that added some late-season heating demand to the mix," said Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective in closing comments. "Talk of growing U.S. LNG export capacity may have also helped the market turn higher."

The early estimate on the week's storage report is for a modest injection. The Desk in an Early View assessment of the week's storage report surveyed 10 traders and analysts and the average revealed an 11 Bcf build for the week ending March 31. All those surveyed expected a storage injection, and the range was from +5 Bcf to +22 Bcf. Last year 6 Bcf was injected and the five-year average is for a 13 Bcf withdrawal.

Tom Saal, vice president at FCStone Latin America in Miami, in his work with Market Profile expects the market to test Tuesday's value area at $3.286 to 3.222 followed by a test of $3.157 to 3.139. Market Profile is a breakout trading system and once the week's initial balance of $3.193 to 3.100 is exceeded or broken he looks for trading objectives at $3.389 or $3.037.

In overnight Globex trading May crude oil rose 68 cents to $51.71/bbl and May RBOB gasoline added a penny to $1.7350/gal.

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