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March Natural Gas Called Lower Amid Unimpressive Forecast

March natural gas was set to open Wednesday about 3 cents lower at around $2.728 as forecasters spotted warmer changes to an unimpressive outlook for February cold.

NatGasWeather.com noted only “slight changes in the overnight data, this time slightly warmer, especially after Feb. 17,” NatGasWeather.com said. “Most importantly, the pattern after this week continues to look too mild over the southern and eastern U.S. We were seeing better potential for cold to return across the northern U.S. Feb. 19-20 in previous days, but the overnight data failed to trend colder with it and looks rather mild this round.”

Radiant Solutions observed warmer trends in both its six- to 10-day and 11-15 day outlooks Wednesday.

“The forecast trends warmer in the South and East” in the six- to 10-day, “which comes with less cold air associated with early period high pressure and more much-above normal temperatures ahead of a mid-period storm system,” Radiant said. “On average, temperatures average the period in the above normal category along the East Coast, but variability in the Midcontinent has this region being closer to normal.

“The Southwest has above normal temperatures for most of the period, with warmer changes here being a result of models no longer projecting a cut off low early on,” the firm said. “A disturbance has aboves scaling back in coverage here at mid-period, however.”

According to Bespoke Weather Services, the long-range pattern “appears warm enough still to not provide much of a bid for natural gas prices, though overnight we did notice a very small uptick in bullish risk. Model guidance is beginning to become a bit more defined with a potential cold shot around Feb. 17, and in increase in North Atlantic blocking...could further that.

“Additionally, early morning Global Ensemble Forecast System guidance had far more bullish cold risk in the long-range pattern than overnight guidance…” Bespoke is “not expecting any severe cold outbreaks, but it increasingly looks like we should begin adding back gas-weighted degree days in the long-range pattern as we move forward now.”

Meanwhile, ICAP Technical Analysis analyst Brian LaRose said, following Tuesday’s close, that “technically, bulls are in a good position to make something happen. But are they up to the task?

“Hold $2.688-2.640 and the bulls still have a case for a run at the $3.417-3.491 neighborhood,” he said. “Hold $2.521 and the best the bulls can hope for is a short-lived correction of the move down off the $3.259 high. Fail to hold support and the door will be open for an immediate dump to $2.189-2.121.”

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