November natural gas futures were trading sharply lower early Monday, down 8.3 cents to $3.167/MMBtu shortly before 9 a.m. ET, as forecasts over the weekend showed cold easing in the eastern third of the country by early next month.
Bespoke Weather Services pointed to significant additions to projected heating demand in the medium-range, but with “clear signs of pattern adjustment in the long-range” that would lead to a drop-off in demand in the eastern third of the country.
“Burns appeared quite loose over the weekend and as nuclear outages dip moving forward that is a trend that should continue,” Bespoke said. “Production soared back near record levels, though Canadian imports are off a bit. Overall, with prices around $3.20 we see risk solidly skewed lower; balances remain quite loose, and we expect a very loose” Energy Information Administration storage report Thursday.
“Additionally, long-range warm risks are finally increasing as we transition out of the blocking regime that has allowed all this significant cold,” the firm said. “Even cash prices were off Friday, and we may see some strength on cold into the middle of the week, but any strength is fleeting.”
Radiant Solutions similarly noted cooler trends on Monday in its latest six- to 10-day (Oct. 27-31) outlook, but with the East trending warmer in the 11-15 day (Nov. 1-5) period.
In the six- to 10-day, “the forecast features cooler changes across the Eastern half and most notably so in the mid to late period in the Midwest and late period along the East Coast,” Radiant said. “This comes with a deeper trough over the region, left in the wake of an early coastal low and second disturbance tracking through the Midwest and East through mid-period. Below normal temperatures are common throughout the period in the Midwest, South and East.”
In the 11-15 day period, lingering high pressure leads to colder changes to start the period but giving way to “warming themes as the period progresses,” Radiant said. “This comes with very low confidence as it relates to a west Pacific typhoon...The forecast takes a blend of guidance, with the coolest anomalies in the Rockies and Plains and warming in the East for the second half.”
Looking at the technicals, analysts with Rafferty Commodities Group noted that Friday’s rally showed the November contract bouncing off an upward sloping line drawn on the daily chart between a series of higher lows set in recent weeks.
“The weekly chart shows the $3.350 area as major resistance,” Rafferty analysts said. “We look for the market to once again test this area. The inability to cut through this level, if tested, would provide a good place to take profits on long positions. However, if the market can close above this level, it could send prices up to the $3.692 area.”
Shortly after 8 a.m. ET Monday, November crude oil was up 7 cents to $69.19/bbl, while November RBOB gasoline was trading fractionally lower at $1.9057/gal.