Natural gas futures were trading close to even early Wednesday, holding on to the prior session’s gains as the latest weather and production trends remained supportive. The June Nymex futures contract was trading 0.5 cents higher at $2.664/MMBtu as of 8:30 a.m. ET.
The overnight European model data trended warmer, adding another 5-6 cooling degree days for the next couple weeks to put it in “good agreement overall” with the warmer American model, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“The increase in heat is in response to the cool trough that parks over the western states, allowing a large ridge to develop over the eastern half of the nation,” Bespoke said. “We do not believe this year’s pattern will allow heat to ‘lock in’ all summer long like in 2018, and both ensembles do trim the heat at Day 15.” Still, “we have seen this on numerous runs over the last several days, only to see it get pushed back, so we need to see it roll forward to gain confidence.”
As for other fundamentals data early Wednesday, “production did indeed maintain a decent drop yesterday” following revisions, the firm said. “It is starting out a little higher today than yesterday’s initial data showed, but still likely to be lower than what we started the week with after revisions...We remain slightly bullish this morning, still seeing a path toward $2.70, with any dips into the low $2.60s likely to be bought.”
Radiant Solutions highlighted hotter trends for the southern United States in its latest six- to 10-day forecast Wednesday, with warmer conditions continuing for the East in the 11-15 day period.
The six- to 10-day “features a more amplified regime compared to previous expectations, with cool changes from the Southwest to the Upper Midwest and warm changes in the South and Mid-Atlantic,” the forecaster said. “Strong ridging will build over the Eastern Half, resulting in above to much above normal coverage. At the peaks, temperatures are forecast in the upper 80s to near 90 degrees from St. Louis to Washington, DC, with additionally hotter readings in the South at the end of the period.”
In the 11-15 day outlook, Radiant’s forecast showed cooler changes in the West and warmer changes in the Southeast.
“These changes come as a result of a slower moderating of the pattern,” Radiant said. “Strong ridging remains favored to settle over the Southeast, keeping most areas in the Eastern Half on the warm side of normal. This includes much aboves in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast through mid-period.”
The support level continued to rise for the June contract after Tuesday’s session, as the front month never went lower than $2.622, according to EBW Analytics Group CEO Andy Weissman. Weissman attributed Tuesday’s 3.8-cent rally to a combination of pipeline scrape data showing lower production, an increase in forecast cooling demand and the continued ramping of U.S. liquefied natural gas production.
“After four straight daily gains, the June contract has built sufficient momentum to potentially test resistance at $2.68-2.72,” he said. “Absent forecasts for much warmer weather in late May or early June, however, we still expect that as the year/year storage surplus continues to increase, gas prices will start to pull back.”
At around 8:30 a.m. ET, June crude oil futures were down 59 cents to $61.19/bbl, while June RBOB gasoline was off fractionally to $1.9712/gal.