Natural gas futures were steady early Wednesday as cooler forecast trends overnight threatened to hamper any potential rebound following recent selling. The Nymex July contract was off 0.2 cents to $2.414/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
American model guidance trended “much cooler” overnight for days six through 15 of the latest outlook, according to Bespoke Weather Services. The American model had been warmer than its European counterpart, which also trended slightly cooler overnight.
“The very ends of the runs do bring demand back up toward normal still but overall do not look as favorable for the return of heat as they did 24 hours ago,” Bespoke said. “We still continue to believe that the final third of June has a shot to bring some heat back across the eastern half of the U.S. given the tropical forcing cycles, but that’s still beyond the 15-day forecast window at this point, so we really need to wait until the weekend” when models “will start ‘seeing’ into that period and offer us more clues.”
The latest forecasts could hinder any attempts by the market to rally, but fundamentals data was showing improvement as of early Wednesday, according to the firm.
“The burns are still where the strength is, as they were revised tighter yesterday, pushing us to the tightest levels we have seen in daily balances since the cold blast in the first third of March,” Bespoke said.
Radiant Solutions highlighted cooler changes to its latest six- to 10-day forecast Wednesday, with models coming into better agreement on the outlook for the period.
“A round of below to near much below normal temperatures are in the Midcontinent, while the focus of heat is along the West Coast,” the forecaster said. “At the peak, temperatures are forecast at 100 degrees in Sacramento to start the period, while Portland peaks at 90 degrees and Phoenix at 110 degrees at mid-period.
“Rounds of wet weather are expected along the East Coast, and confidence is lower than usual here. Temperatures are forecast to average the period in the near normal category but with cooler risks per guidance.”
In the 11-15 day period, Radiant said the pattern shows heat lacking in the eastern half of the Lower 48.
“The forecast features a mix of changes in this period, leaning cooler early in the East and in the mid to late period in Central,” the forecaster said. “...Temperatures are forecast to be near normal and slightly below normal from the Plains toward the East Coast, while aboves are restricted to parts of the West.”
Based on recent price action, downside risks could be limited in the near-term, according to EBW Analytics Group. EBW CEO Andy Weissman noted that support held around $2.380 in Tuesday’s session, with prices trading in a narrow range for much of the day.
“This tight range-bound trading suggests that, at this early stage in the air conditioning season, when a hot summer scenario is still possible, the market has little appetite for pushing the price of the summer-month contracts lower,” Weissman said. “At the same time, however, with another monster injection likely Thursday and mild weather expected for most of June, it’s too early for futures to rally strongly, keeping both bulls and bears at bay.”
Just after 8:30 a.m. ET, July crude oil futures were down 82 cents to $52.66/bbl, while July RBOB gasoline was down around 2.2 cents to $1.7022/gal.