Natural gas futures were trading slightly lower early Monday as the latest weather guidance remained a mixed bag coming out of the weekend. The June Nymex futures contract was off 0.4 cents to $2.615/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
NatGasWeather viewed the weekend data as mixed, with the Global Forecast System adding to its projected degree day totals as the European data remained flat.
“Some of the datasets are a touch hot at times across the southern U.S., although not consistent and why the weather model ensembles are less impressive with a stronger bearish lean,” NatGasWeather said. “...Overall, weather sentiment remains slightly bearish the next several days, then increasingly bearish late this week through late May as weather patterns fail to become hot enough other than a few days here or there. Of great interest to Monday’s trade will be if bulls are able to hold $2.62.”
Bespoke Weather Services, meanwhile, highlighted what it described as “a rather definitive move warmer” in the latest guidance for the next two weeks, with models adding cooling degree days (CDD) starting late this week and extending into the 11-15 day period.
“This comes due to a stronger and more persistent trough in the western half of the nation starting later this week, allowing warmth to expand in the eastern U.S.,” Bespoke said. While total gas-weighted degree days “do not deviate far from normal on any given day” because of heating demand remaining in the pattern, “we feel the CDD gains overall carry much more importance, giving the current weather picture more of a bullish feel compared to what we saw the other day.”
Bespoke said fundamentals data over the weekend showed balances looking “weak” thanks to looser power burns the past several days.
“Other fundamentals data is mixed since Friday, with production having moved back up somewhat, though still unable to get back to its highs,” the firm said. Liquefied natural gas “exports moved up as well, touching a new record high over the weekend.”
The futures market could be headed for several more days of range-bound trading, according to EBW Analytics Group.
“The June contract established solid support near $2.55 early last week and then spent the rest of the week testing the upper end of its recent trading range, going as high as $2.647 intraday Friday before profit-taking prior to the weekend pared most of this gain,” EBW CEO Andy Weissman said. “With a cold shot boosting demand in the Northeast...the June contract could make another run at the upper end of its trading range early this week, potentially re-testing last Friday’s intraday high.”
Still, Weissman said the outlook for late May into June points to multiple triple-digit storage injections in the weeks ahead. “We expect the year/year storage surplus to soar past 200 Bcf and the deficit versus the five-year average to decline sharply, pushing gas prices back down.”
June crude oil futures were up $1.15 to $62.81/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while June RBOB gasoline was up around 3.9 cents to $2.0286/gal.