Natural gas futures were trading slightly higher early Wednesday as the overnight forecast data hinted at potential warming later this month. The June Nymex futures contract was up 2.8 cents to $2.565/MMBtu at around 8:30 a.m. ET.
Bespoke Weather Services tallied an increase in gas-weighted degree days for the 15-day forecast period based on changes in the overnight weather data. This was primarily because of additional heating demand in the European data that “would not be very impactful,” but models have also “stepped a little warmer out at the end of the 11-15 day” outlook.
“Demand remains rather low next week, but if this trend continues, we could see demand tick back above normal in the following week, at which point we could finally get a better read on how the market will perform” with some true cooling degree days “in the picture,” Bespoke said. “Still a long way out yet, but, at the least, models have stopped moving more to the bearish side of the spectrum.”
The firm said it would look for “competing forces,” including a recent dip in production on the one hand and weak cash prices on the other, to lead to “choppiness” in Wednesday’s trading, with June prices likely not straying too far from the $2.55 level.
Radiant Solutions highlighted a small warmer change in the southern United States in its latest 11-15 day forecast Wednesday.
“The forecast features a mix of changes in this period, leaning cooler in the Midwest and warmer in the South,” Radiant said. “These changes are associated with model trends in building a Southeast ridge during the second half. The forecast returns aboves to this region for then. Otherwise, the forecast continues to have temperatures on the warm side of normal in the period composite across the Eastern Half.”
As for the six- to 10-day outlook, Radiant said the latest forecast maintains the same overall themes, including warmer temperatures in the Northwest and cooler-leaning temperatures in the Southwest.
“Farther east, temperatures are forecast near normal in the Eastern Half composite, but with belows early from Texas toward the Northeast,” the forecaster said. “Models diverge in the second half as it relates to a cooler Canadian air mass potentially spreading belows toward the Rockies, Plains and Midwest.”
As for Wednesday’s 1.3-cent rally in the June contract, EBW Analytics Group CEO Andy Weissman said pipeline scrape data showing a drop in production likely triggered the gains, with profit-taking also a potential factor. But the pipeline scrape data could be misleading the market, he said.
“The decline in production may be due in part to maintenance in the Midwest, which is likely to be transient,” Weissman said. “Much of the drop, however, is probably due to errors in the scrapes, which are likely to be corrected later this week.
“The underlying supply/demand fundamentals for natural gas remain largely unchanged, with little to suggest above-normal weather-driven demand for any sustained period between now and the first full week in June,” he said. “By later this month, as weekly injections continue to mount, a further price decline remains likely for Nymex gas.”
June crude oil futures were up 25 cents to $61.65/bbl at around 8:30 a.m. ET, while June RBOB gasoline was down fractionally to $1.9456/gal.