December natural gas futures were up 6.2 cents to $3.249/MMBtu shortly before 9 a.m. ET Wednesday, boosted by forecast heating demand gains overnight for the second week of November.
Bespoke Weather Services viewed the overnight guidance as mixed overall, but it noted additional bullish trends for Nov. 9-12 that should see gas-weighted degree days (GWDD) climb to above-normal levels nationally.
“Long-range forecasts then remain mixed; European and Canadian guidance favor a pattern breakdown with warmth building across the country as a weak Gulf of Alaska sets up, which fits with the tropical forcing propagation we expect to play out as well,” Bespoke said. Global Ensemble Forecast System guidance, on other the hand, “keeps more cold risks lingering in the East as the pattern struggles to break down. The model may be succumbing to somewhat of a cold bias, and we continue to weight European guidance most heavily.”
The firm said it views the GWDD gains as providing “short-term upside” for prices, but it is looking for prices to drop back toward $3.10 on signs of the cold breaking down into the third week of November.
“Cold is lingering more than expected, and with Canadian imports revised even lower, this is canceling out record production and making the front of the strip jumpy,” Bespoke said. “...Once model guidance agrees more clearly on the pattern breakdown late Week 2 into Week 3 we do think prices at the front of the strip can break down toward $3.10, but the signal is not yet clear, and with GWDD adds a bounce is possible first.”
EBW Analytics Group similarly noted cooler trends in the 11-15 day period overnight, resulting in a small net increase in the firm’s aggregate demand expectations over the next three weeks.
“With support for the December contract above $3.10 looking increasingly firm, the market is likely to react to the increase in demand during the 11-15 day window by pushing higher again this morning,” EBW CEO Andy Weissman said. “The real story in the medium-term, however, is weather during the 16-30 day window. The ensemble models continue to show the potential for cooler than normal or blow torch hot outcomes.
“This morning, the much warmer than normal scenario gained support,” he said. While it’s still “much too early” to tell, “the blow torch warm scenario, if it materializes, would send prices down sharply.”
Looking at the technicals, Rafferty Commodities Group has pegged minor resistance for the December contract at $3.282, with major resistance up above $3.330. The firm listed minor support at $3.180-3.162 and major support at $3.137-3.104.
“A picture is worth a thousand words and the weekly chart tells the story with the market,” Rafferty analysts told clients heading into Wednesday’s session. “Since breaking above the $3.100 resistance area last month, the weekly chart shows the market being contained within the $3.100 and $3.350 areas as support and resistance, respectively.
“This sideways consolidation pattern is the market’s way of pausing to catch its breath after a good run from the breakout above the $3.100 area.”
Shortly before 9 a.m. ET, December crude oil was trading 8 cents higher at $66.26/bbl, while November RBOB gasoline was trading fractionally higher at $1.8065/gal.