September natural gas is set to open 3 cents higher Monday morning at $3.83 as traders mull whether the market is putting in a traditional seasonal low or about to resume its trend lower. Overnight oil markets fell.

Joe Bastardi, meteorologist at WeatherBELL Analytics, in his Monday morning 20-day forecast said he is looking for a continuation of transient weather patterns. The ECMWF Ensemble (European) is the model of choice, and he expects a "warmer look in Texas than GFS [Global Forecast System] ensembles, but no widespread above-normal pattern by mid-month as was rumored late last week in some circles."

Bastardi is studying the development of El Nino in the form of "parallels to ENSO events of 1986 and 2009 [being] examined; [they] would suggest very close match to our August outlook, but Texas is a big problem overall. [The] West is much cooler and wetter this week."

WeatherBELL for the next two weeks forecasts a national accumulation of 56.5 cooling degree days (CDD), more than last year's 39.7 CDD and about in line with a 30-year average of 54.6 CDD.

Market technicians are studying whether current price action is indicating a pause in an ongoing downtrend or a seasonal low. Walter Zimmermann of United ICAP said "seasonal lows in natgas generally exhibit more volatility than the recent price action, [and] a seasonal low is typically marked by one final punch lower that yields a quick ricochet higher.

"There was nothing like that at the recent $3.724 low, [but] there is now bullish RSI divergence on both daily and weekly charts. The ideal outcome for the bulls would be one more punch lower that ricochets higher from the $3.480 area, thus completing an ABC decline from the $6.493 high," he said in a weekly report.

Tom Saal, vice president at INTL FC Stone, in Miami said, "Buyers be ready. [H]istorically, August and September have been annual low prices for Nymex Henry Hub spot contract." In his work with Market Profile he is looking for the market to test last week's value area at $3.835 to $3.749 then move on to test $4.159 to $4.037. "Eventually" he expects the market to test $4.422 to $4.326 and $4.739 to $4.635 as well.

The National Hurricane Center in its 5 a.m. EDT Monday report said Tropical Storm Bertha was moving away from Bermuda. It was about 220 miles east of Great Abaco Island and was moving to the north at 16 mph. Winds had strengthened to 70 mph.

In overnight Globex trading September crude oil fell 26 cents to $97.62/bbl and September RBOB gasoline dropped 2 cents to $2.7230/gal.