Natural gas futures were trading lower early Monday as forecasts over the weekend eased off on expected cold later this month. The November Nymex contract was down 3.1 cents to $2.289/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET.
Both the American and European models dropped demand from their respective outlooks over the weekend, showing upcoming cold focused in the central and western portions of the Lower 48 instead of more populated areas further east, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“The upcoming week sees below normal demand thanks to eastern warmth, with demand climbing to normal this weekend into early next week, then finally reaching above normal levels in the middle of next week if current forecasts hold,” Bespoke said. “We have been seeing models over-forecast cold in the medium range lately, as the cold 11-15 day projections weaken once that rolls into the six- to 10-day period.
“We are also watching the tropical forcing patterns, which suggest that milder weather could return in the wake of whatever cold we do get in the first week of November, assuming blocking is not strong enough to outduel the signal.”
Forecast changes heading into Monday’s trading showed a net loss in demand over the next three storage weeks, according to projections from EBW Analytics Group.
However, this “masks a more bearish picture,” EBW analysts said. “The start of cool weather has been pushed back to Days 9 and 10, cutting demand in Week 2 sharply. Further, while Week 3 has gained demand, longer-term forecasts call for milder weather to return in Week 4.
“These shifts, coupled with continued increases in production, limit the upside potential for the November contract. While the potential for colder weather to return for a few days near the end of the 15-day window provides a modicum of hope for bulls, further losses are likely before October ends.”
Looking at the supply picture, Genscape Inc. said its Lower 48 dry gas production estimate has topped 93 Bcf/d for the first time ever. After revisions, Friday’s production total measured 93.58 Bcf/d, according to the firm.
“We estimate production remained well above 93 Bcf/d through the weekend, averaging 93.37 Bcf/d,” Genscape senior natural gas analyst Rick Margolin said. “Production the past three days has been averaging nearly 1.58 Bcf/d greater than the month-to-date average. Virtually every producing area in our estimate is up except the San Juan and West.”
At around 8:30 a.m. ET, November crude oil futures were trading 27 cents lower at $53.51/bbl, while November RBOB gasoline was off about 1.3 cents to $1.6101/gal.