April natural gas was set to open Tuesday about 2.8 cents higher at around $2.732 as weather models continued to advertise medium-range cooling, although now with long-range warm trends looking less intense.
“Only slight changes in the overnight weather data as colder trends held across the eastern U.S. March 11-15, but still favoring a warm ridge expanding over much of the eastern half of the country March 16-20, although just very slightly less impressive in strength this round,” NatGasWeather.com said Tuesday.
Markets have yet to move higher in response to a cold shot expected next week, the firm said.
“However, all the weather models continue to favor mild to warm upper high pressure building over large stretches of the central, southern and eastern U.S. March 16-20 for light late winter demand,” NatGasWeather said. “If the markets wanted to use this as a reason to sell off, they certainly could have. Thus, it’s possible the markets see them offsetting.
“...To our view, with prices trading in such a tight range the past two weeks, there’s certainly accumulation/distribution occurring between players. So when one side finally does push prices out of the range, the other side might make a rush for the exits regardless of the latest weather or production trends.”
In its 11-15 day outlook Tuesday, Radiant Solutions noted “a mix of small changes” for the period, with changes “leaning colder in the West as troughing more quickly presses into the region. However, this faster trend also has belows along the East Coast fading more quickly as the connection to colder source regions is cut off.
“Below-normal temperatures linger along the East Coast in the early stages, but all of the Eastern Half has temperatures on the warm side of normal by late in the period.”
Bespoke Weather Services said its 15-day outlook lost some heating demand overnight but “on net we saw a slight increase in bullish weather risk as the pattern shown into the final third of March did not look to hold as many warm risks for the East.
“We do expect the broadly colder pattern that lasts through March 15 to break down...However, increasingly model guidance is showing temperatures lingering near average through that following week instead of warming significantly.”
ICAP Technical Analysis analyst Brian LaRose said there’s “no reason to raise the bar until and unless the bulls prove to us they are capable of taking natural gas higher.
“To even suggest the narrative may be changing $2.775-2.797-2.823 must be breached,” LaRose said. “Only then can we entertain higher objectives. As a reminder, even if further upside is on the horizon I am still inclined to treat any recovery as corrective in nature.”
April crude oil was set to open about 49 cents higher at around $63.06/bbl, while April RBOB gasoline was up fractionally at around $1.9387/gal.