June natural gas was set to open Monday slightly lower at around $2.766/MMBtu in a market seen as lacking near-term bullish catalysts now that lingering April cold has faded.
The weekend and early morning price adjustments came after a sharp selloff Friday, when the June contract fell 6.8 cents to settle at $2.771, pulling back after trading as high as $2.844 following last week’s bullish Energy Information Administration storage report.
“With a month-long period of much cooler-than-normal weather about to end, replaced by the long-awaited return of seasonal weather, this swift mover lower is not surprising,” EBW Analytics Group CEO Andy Weissman told clients Monday. “The first few weeks of May often see the lowest demand of the year. In an oversupplied market, an extended string of 100 Bcf-plus injections is likely to start next week.
“With the beginning of summer weather still four to eight weeks away and few if any near-term bullish catalysts in sight, support for the June gas contract at $2.69 is likely to be tested late this week or early next,” Weissman said. “If it fails, a $2.60 target is likely.”
On Friday June was “repelled” from a key band of resistance around $2.820-2.849, according to ICAP Technical Analysis analyst Brian LaRose.
Even so, “we are forced to treat this pull back as a pause in a volatile up trend at this time,” LaRose said. “However, for the bulls to have a shot at visiting $2.895-2.903-2.910-2.925 they will need to prevent natural gas from slipping below 2.730-2.724-2.721. Fail to hold this band and we would be prepared for the slide to continue.”
Turning to the weather, Radiant Solutions reported “broadly warmer” changes to its six- to 10-day (May 5-9) forecast over the weekend, focused in the Central and South regions of the country “where an early to mid-period round of high pressure only takes temperatures closer to normal -- compared to slight belows from previous outlooks.
“The Eastern Half averages the period near normal overall; and despite warmer leanings from previous, still warmer risks are seen here late,” Radiant said.
The 11-15 day (May 10-14) outlook also saw warmer changes, “particularly in the West but also in the Southeast,” the firm said. “Overall, above normal temperatures are forecast from West to central, with near to marginally above normal temperatures along the East Coast.”
June crude oil was set to open about 61 cents lower at around $67.49/bbl, while May RBOB gasoline was trading about 2.7 cents lower at around $2.1002/gal.