With some warmer trends in the latest forecasts and signs of strong power burns amid recent low prices, natural gas futures were trading slightly higher early Wednesday. The September Nymex futures contract was up 2.0 cents to $2.131/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
The latest forecasts heading into Wednesday’s trading came in slightly hotter, with warmer trends focused around next week, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“The theme of the pattern remains the same, with the best heat being across the southern U.S. over the next week to 10 days, including the hottest weather seen this summer across the state of Texas, then some anomalous heat spreading up into the Midwest and East after the middle of the month,” Bespoke said. “This keeps the bias of the pattern to the hot side, with stronger heat versus normal possible after the middle of the month thanks to above normal temperatures moving back into the eastern half of the nation.”
Bespoke also highlighted recent balance data that showed record high power burns Tuesday following revisions. This is “pretty impressive” given recent gas-weighted degree day totals that are “not nearly on the same level as we saw during the peak heat of July. “Some of this strength is due to the lower wind we’ve had so far this week along with higher nuclear outages, but the lower prices may finally be doing some work as well.”
Maxar’s Weather Desk observed a “small warm change” to its latest 11-15 day forecast Wednesday focused in Texas.
“The Midwest also carries a warm change from previous,” the forecaster said. “Overall, the period is broadly warmer than normal, including above normal coverage from the West to Texas and around the Great Lakes.”
As for the six- to 10-day outlook, an upper level ridge expected over the South Central region at the start of the period “is reluctant to migrate as far westward during the second half as previously expected. As a result, the forecast carries cooler changes along the West Coast. Above normal temperatures build over the Southwest during the second half while persisting for most days from Texas toward the Southeast. The Northern Tier remains under a progressive pattern, resulting in near normal temperatures overall from the Midwest toward the East.”
Meanwhile, analysts at Energy Aspects observed in a recent note that the weakness in Henry Hub futures has coincided with a slump in natural gas prices across the Atlantic.
“For the European market, we have been flagging that gas prices may plummet as spare storage capacity dwindles, given that no real progress has been made in chopping down the continent’s year/year storage surplus so far this injection season,” Energy Aspects said. “In fact, Europe could have no more storage capacity available by mid-September.
“While the U.S. and European markets are not completely tethered yet (they are not trading in sympathy with one another), the fullness of storage does raise questions around how the global market will be able to shrug off so much extra supply,” the firm said. “A rush of Lower 48 gas production to the market,” coinciding with a dwindling cooling degree day count, “is only exacerbating the bearish pricing situation in the U.S.”
September crude oil futures were trading 83 cents lower at $52.80/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while September RBOB gasoline was down about 1.4 cents to $1.6738/gal.