After suffering heavy losses to start the week, natural gas futures rebounded early Wednesday, helped by cooler trends in the latest forecasts. The December Nymex futures contract was trading 4.9 cents higher at $2.559/MMBtu at around 8:40 a.m. ET.
Guidance shifted back in the colder direction overnight, but temperature expectations didn’t deviate far from normal on any given day in the forecast window, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“We do see more cold on the 11-15 day map today, but it is focused out West,” keeping national gas-weighted degree day totals “close to normal in the early part of December as well,” Bespoke said. “The December pattern remains a very tricky call. We have been leaning on the milder side thanks to expectations for continued progression” of the Madden-Julian Oscillation/tropical forcing signal, “but that signal appears to be weakening.” This could explain “why models tease more cold in the medium range,” particularly the American model.
Bespoke said its confidence remained “on the low side of average” as of early Wednesday. “While we would not change our overall December view at this time” based on the 15-day forecast window only extending into the first four days of the month, “it is fair to say colder risks have increased somewhat today.”
Maxar’s Weather Desk similarly noted colder changes focused in the West in its latest forecast. For the period from Monday through Nov. 29, the outlook for the eastern half of the Lower 48 “holds similarly to previous, with temperatures being near normal overall. A round of above normal temperatures” stretches from the Midwest toward Texas “early on and along the East Coast at mid-period.”
Further out in the Nov. 30-Dec. 4 period, Maxar said the large-scale pattern points to below normal temperatures in the West and “variability” for the eastern half of the country.
“A brief round of slightly below normal temperatures are in the Midwest and East at mid-period, while rounds of above normal temperatures are in Texas,” the forecaster said.
It will likely take “substantially colder forecasts” to offset the downward price pressure exerted by an increasing year/year storage surplus and “bearish fundamentals,” according to analysts at EBW Analytics Group.
Nearer term, however, “natural gas declines may pause temporarily as shorts encounter technical support.” Meanwhile, this week’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report could reveal a “bullish” withdrawal, the EBW analysts said. Also a potential factor in upcoming price action is “contract rollover, a long Thanksgiving holiday weekend and weather model inconsistency heightening risks of a bullish forecast shift.”
At around 8:40 a.m. ET, December crude oil futures were trading 42 cents higher at $55.63/bbl, while December RBOB gasoline was up about a penny at $1.6138/gal.