November natural gas is set to open 5 cents lower Wednesday morning at $2.91 as weather models continue to call for ongoing warmth in key energy markets. Overnight oil markets rose.
"Warmth continues to dominate much of the next week with little change to the forecast," said Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group in a morning report to clients. "Highs still are expected to peak well into the 70s in the Midwest and East over the upcoming weekend and into early next week. A shift toward a cooler pattern has now moved up into the first half of the six to 10 day period, though the first round of cooling can often underperform and is instead more of a shift back to what would be expected for October.
"The second push late in the six to 10 and early 11-15, however, has the potential to be stronger than currently shown here. At the same time, we are watching another burst of strong heat in southern California for the first half of next week that could send temperatures soaring toward the triple digits."
Near term total heating and cooling load is expected well below normal in key population centers. The National Weather Service forecasts that for the week ended Oct. 19 New England is expected to see a combined degree day (DD) load of 52, or 59 less than normal. New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey should have to endure 40 DD or 57 fewer than its seasonal average, and the broader Midwest from Ohio to Pennsylvania is anticipated to see 54 combined DD or 48 less than its seasonal average.
Traders continue to have an upside bias to the market, but it is all contingent on supportive weather. "The market has gotten very sticky in this $3.00 area in the front, but I will reiterate that I see more of limited downside and potential upside if -- and it is a big if -- the weather really turns," said Stephen Kessler, options trader at Beacon Energy. "We are in a time of year and at a price where I think the short term risks are to the upside in futures, though sideways action for a bit still feels like an equal risk."
In its Early View storage survey The Desk's survey of 11 industry cognoscenti revealed an average 59 Bcf for this week's EIA inventory report. This compares to last year's 77 Bcf and a five year average of 78 Bcf. The range on the survey was from 49 Bcf to 70 Bcf.
In overnight Globex trading November crude oil rose 21 cents to $52.09/bbl and November RBOB gasoline gained a penny to $1.6376/gal.