A clear colder shift in guidance over the weekend had natural gas futures trading sharply higher early Monday. The November Nymex contract was up 7.5 cents to $2.375/MMBtu at around 8:30 a.m. ET.
All weather models trended colder over the weekend, including chillier changes for this weekend into next week from both the American and European models, according to Bespoke Weather Services. The American model was stronger with the change and is now colder in its outlook compared to the European.
“There are hints of warming showing up around or just after Nov. 10, however, as models still weaken the blocking but also start to move the Alaska ridge slightly westward, which would allow moderation across key areas of the U.S.,” Bespoke said. “...Our view remains that moderation/warming will come, but such a transition at the least appears to be slower in today’s guidance, and we have added a decent chunk of demand since forecasts were issued back on Friday.”
The expiration of the November contract this week could create some “chaotic price action,” the forecaster said.
“When the smoke clears, price risks will be skewed to the downside if any moderating trend does show up,” Bespoke said.
In its latest six to 10 day forecast, Maxar’s Weather Desk said it expects below normal temperatures from the Rockies to the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast, with strongly below normal temperatures focused in the central Lower 48 in the early half of the period.
“A brief round of moderation is in the Midwest at mid-period associated with weak low pressure, but this feature will usher another round of colder air into the North Central and Rockies late,” Maxar said.
Further out in the 11-15 day, Maxar said the large-scale pattern remains “supportive of colder themes.”
“Below normal temperatures average the period from the Midwest toward the East, while above normal temperatures are in the Southwest,” the forecaster said.
Based on the latest guidance, EBW Analytics Group tallied a sharp increase in expected demand for the Nov. 1-14 period, including a “steep spike” in gas-weighted heating degree days expected this weekend and another spike expected during the second week of November.
“This increase should be sufficient to move the November contract higher in its last two days of trading,” according to EBW. “This morning’s model runs, however, suggest that the Alaskan Ridge that is driving the cold shift could break down during the 16-20 day window, bringing slightly milder-than-normal weather in mid-November. If support for this trend increases, the spike in natural gas prices over the next few days could be short-lived.”
December crude oil futures were trading $56.50/bbl at around 8:30 a.m. ET, off 16 cents, while November RBOB gasoline was trading fractionally lower at around $1.6676/gal.