Natural gas futures prices were steady early Monday as the market was unswayed by warmer forecast trends over the weekend. The September Nymex futures contract was off 0.7 cents to $2.112/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
Bespoke Weather Services viewed models as hotter trending over the weekend, in particular the Global Ensemble Forecast System, which “caught up” to its European counterpart in terms of gas-weighted degree day (GWDD) expectations for the 15-day outlook period.
“The changes were generally toward a hotter eastern half of the nation in what is now the six- to 15-day period,” Bespoke said. Heat in Texas and the South “still takes center stage the next few days before that expansion of heat into the Midwest and East. The heat in the South does wane some through the six- to 15-day, but overall, we keep the bias of the pattern easily to the hotter side, and now project that this August will finish up hotter than last August based on national GWDDs.”
This month is also currently on track to be one the eight hottest for any August on record going back to 1981, according to Bespoke’s database. “As of right now, we still favor above normal heat on into September as well.”
Maxar’s Weather Desk similarly highlighted warm changes in the Midwest compared to Friday’s expectations for the six- to 10-day period.
“These changes are seen throughout the period and accompany stronger and more steady ridging aloft,” the forecaster said. “Warm changes also precede the passage of low pressure in the East during the latter stages, while any cooler adjustments are early along the West Coast. The Euro ensembles are given favorability in the details, which include much aboves at mid-period around the Great Lakes and late in the Southwest.”
From a technical standpoint, the September contract traded between $2.07 and $2.155 for most of last week, establishing a “well-defined trading range,” said analysts at EBW Analytics Group.
“This week’s trading is likely to follow a similar pattern,” EBW said. “When last week began, power sector demand for natural gas was expected to taper off in Weeks 2 and 3. Over the course of the week, however, weather forecast shifts added more than 20 Bcf to expected August demand...The hottest days are expected to be today and tomorrow and the last two days of Week 2.
“Prices could probe higher this morning and then soften in the middle of the week. Expectations for a return of hotter weather in Week 2, however, should limit midweek losses, delaying the next significant move lower until next week or the week thereafter.”
September crude oil futures were trading 31 cents lower at $54.19/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while September RBOB gasoline was off about 1.2 cents to $1.6619/gal.