Weekend weather models diminished bulls’ hopes for a repeat of last October’s early season cold, pressuring natural gas futures lower in early trading Monday. The November Nymex contract was off 2.7 cents to $2.325/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
The prospect of colder temperatures later this month appeared less likely based on the latest trends from weather models over the weekend, with the outlook shifting warmer in the 11-15 day period, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“There is still a healthy shot of below normal temperatures on the way this weekend into early next week, though focused mostly in the middle of the nation,” Bespoke said. “This colder air mass is expected to lift back up into Canada thanks to another trough digging into the western U.S. after the middle of the month, allowing anomalous warmer ridging to take shape once again in the eastern third of the nation.
“This results in forecast demand heading back to below normal levels starting around the middle of next week, very different from the picture seen last year at that time. This places the weather factor on the bearish side of the spectrum after a few model ‘scares’ in the colder direction late last week.”
Maxar’s Weather Desk similarly highlighted warmer trends for the eastern half of the Lower 48 in the Oct. 17-21 period compared to the outlook heading into the weekend. The forecaster attributed the change in outlook to a “stronger typhoon currently in the western Pacific and its interaction with the northern Pacific jet stream. Given these interactions are often not modeled well in this lead time, overall confidence is lower than usual.”
Meanwhile, Maxar’s latest forecast for Saturday (Oct. 12) through Oct. 16 showed a deep trough settling over the Midwest early in the period after first diving into the Northwest this week.
“This feature will slowly lift northward during the latter stages, while still promoting a cool air flow,” Maxar said. “The coolest conditions are at the start of the period, when much belows are common from the Rockies to the Midwest. By the latter stages, however, only slight belows are in the Midwest while aboves emerge from the Interior West toward Texas. The East Coast averages the period in the normal category.”
Once the cooler temperatures in the six- to 10-day period pass, Days 11-15 of the outlook appeared “significantly warmer” as of early Monday, effectively “quashing last week’s hopes” for mid-October to bring a “sustained transition to fall-like weather,” according to EBW Analytics Group analysts.
“In early morning trading, the market is giving more weight to this bearish shift than to the gain in demand in Week 2,” the EBW analysts said. “But model uncertainty remains high, and a cooler shift is still possible toward the end of the month, providing a sliver of hope for bulls.”
November crude oil futures were trading 82 cents higher at $53.63/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while November RBOB gasoline was trading fractionally higher at $1.5798/gal.