August natural gas futures were set to open Monday about 3.9 cents lower at around $2.885/MMBtu as the market continued to doubt whether there will be enough heat to drive prices higher in the face of surging production.
Bespoke Weather Services said it saw mixed changes to forecasts over the weekend, with less long-range cooling than previously expected but offset by additional medium-range cooling “that will easily eat into the intensity of heat.
“Additionally, though heat looks to be rather impressive it should inger below record levels, especially with heat focused far more across the Midwest and Northeast than the South,” Bespoke said. “Into Week 3 we would still look for heat to gradually get eroded across the country as cooler risks rise through July,” albeit potentially more slowly than previously expected.
Meanwhile, “production levels rose to new records over the weekend,” impacting a natural gas market that is dealing with a drop in projected medium-range demand and is “expecting to see weaker power burns this week, thanks to the Fourth of July holiday,” the firm said. “Seasonality this week is extremely weak as well, and all these factors have us looking for $2.87 support to break in the next few days.”
Radiant Solutions said its 11-15 day outlook Monday showed “widespread above normal temperatures coast to coast,” but the forecaster noted cooler changes to its latest six- to 10-day outlook across the Midwest and East early in the period.
“This comes with strong surface high pressure progressing into the upper Midwest and the Northeast at the onset, bringing a brief round of marginally cooler than normal temperatures,” Radiant said. “As the high moves offshore, above normal temperatures return to the eastern half for the latter part of the period.
“Meanwhile, strong upper-level ridging promotes hot conditions in the West including some near-record heat in Southern California,” the firm said. “Unsettled conditions keep Texas’ temperatures near normal.”
EBW Analytics Group CEO Andy Weissman said an effort to push natural gas prices higher appears to be running out of steam after the front-month failed to gain ground last week despite strong cooling demand and a bullish storage report.
“The inability to post further gains suggests that the move up is stalling, most likely due to a continued surge in U.S. production and predictions that weather will return to seasonal norms during the second half of this month,” Weissman said. “This week could largely determine the direction in which prices move during the remainder of the summer.
“If forecasts for a return to seasonal weather in late July and August validate, prices may have peaked; if Week 3 continues to shift hotter and very hot weather extends even further into the summer, prices could re-test the highs set in June.”
August crude oil was set to open about 43 cents lower at around $73.72/bbl, while August RBOB gasoline was down 2.5 cents at around $2.1262/gal.
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