Some colder trends overnight from the major weather models had natural gas futures trading slightly higher early Tuesday, with the April Nymex futures contract up 1.5 cents to $2.872/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
Data from the major weather models was a little colder trending overnight but they didn’t shift the overall outlook, according to NatGasWeather. The European model in particular added 10 heating degree days to the forecast based on colder trends next week through the middle of March.
NatGasWeather said forecasts still point to a bullishly cold pattern this week followed by a neutral pattern this weekend and into next week.
“What is now most important is if colder than normal conditions can spread out of the central U.S. and across the East March 16-20 for a return to stronger than normal demand,” a scenario both the American and European models maintained overnight, especially the European, according to the forecaster.
“With the overnight European model trending moderately colder compared to Monday, today should be an interesting day to see if bulls can hold or add to recent gains or if bears are able to sell the recent rally to push prices back under important support at $2.80,” NatGasWeather said.
Radiant Solutions noted mostly minor adjustments to its latest six- to 10-day forecast Tuesday.
As for the 11-15 day outlook, “model changes over the past 24 hours were in the colder direction...and the forecast follows suit with a modest cold adjustment focused in the central U.S.,” Radiant said. The large-scale pattern shows characteristics of a positive Pacific/North American teleconnection, “with troughing just south of the Aleutians in the northern Pacific forcing a ridge into the West and pre-period troughing eastward.
“Temperatures are forecast to rise above normal along the West Coast by mid-period, while below to near much below normal temperatures are in the Rockies, Plains and Midwest,” the forecaster said. “Early aboves along the East Coast are replaced by belows late.”
Following last week’s Energy Information Administration storage report, Energy Aspects said based on the cold blast sweeping through to start the month it now projects a 1.0 Tcf end-March carryout, about 70 Bcf less than it had projected a week earlier.
“Yes, it is still above the 2013-14 polar vortex carryout, but the margin is now narrow enough to provide firmer support for summer 2019 delivery prices,” the firm said in a note to clients. “On a total withdrawal basis, March 2019 should outstrip the polar vortex March 2014 withdrawal by some 1.6 Bcf/d, thanks to structural demand growth.”
Based on a recent read of balances, Energy Aspects is projecting an end-October carryout of 3.37 Tcf.
“While that level may not leave stocks exceptionally low, we do view it as a critical balancing point for inventories, with little room for stocks to get much lower without spurring potential deliverability concerns ahead of next winter,” according to the firm. “Nevertheless, the market still seems bearish, with open interest in the options market still biased toward seeking downside protection this injection season.”
April crude oil futures were trading about a nickel higher at $56.64/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET Tuesday, while April RBOB gasoline was up about a penny to $1.7595/gal.