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Bulls Feeling The Love as Colder Euro Model Gives Natural Gas Futures Boost to Open Week
Riding momentum from a colder shift in one of the major weather models, natural gas futures advanced in early trading Monday. The March Nymex contract was up 11.6 cents to $4.057/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.
The European weather model trended colder over the weekend, showing chillier temperatures moving into the northern part of the Lower 48 around Feb. 24-26 to drive “closer to seasonal demand,” according to NatGasWeather.
However, there was disagreement between the American and European datasets over the weekend, with the American model extending warmer trends during the Feb. 22-28 time frame, the firm said.
“We expect the natural gas markets are likely to favor the colder trending European model, and this could be the reason” prices climbed following the weekend break, NatGasWeather said.
Maxar’s Weather Desk highlighted colder trends over the West, the central Lower 48 and the Northeast during the Feb. 24-28 time frame in its latest forecast Monday.
“The period features below normal temperatures in the West and above normal readings in the Southeast,” the forecaster said. “This comes in a pattern influenced by a ridge over the Gulf of Alaska, which builds into Northwest Canada, blocking in a colder pattern trough over the western U.S.” The pattern also presents “potential for backdoor cooling at times in the Northeast.”
Even prior to the increased heating demand in the latest forecasts, the March contract was poised to move higher after technical support held near $3.88, according to EBW Analytics Group senior analyst Eli Rubin.
Along with the colder outlook from the European model, recent estimates showed liquefied natural gas feed gas demand topping 13.0 Bcf/d, coinciding with startup at the Calcasieu Pass terminal, the analyst noted.
“The production rebound from early February freeze-offs, meanwhile, may be stalling 0.5-1.0 Bcf/d below December levels,” Rubin said.
Still, absent a “tremendous bullish weather shift,” resistance for the March contract should hold given “ample storage and fading physical demand,” opening up potential for “renewed downward momentum later this week,” the analyst added.
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