Riding momentum from strong export levels and continued colder trends from forecasts over the weekend, natural gas futures probed several cents higher in early trading Monday. The May Nymex contract was up 3.9 cents to $2.719/MMBtu at around 8:40 a.m. ET.
In its latest 15-day forecast Monday Bespoke Weather Services added nine gas-weighted degree days to its projections compared to expectations before the weekend.
A chillier shift from the European model on Friday “so far looks correct, as other guidance joined in on cooler changes for the balance of the month over the weekend,” Bespoke said. The cooler trends keep expected demand “on the above side of normal, though, again, at a low demand time of year.
“Still, demand is demand, and the change is on the bullish side of the spectrum, thanks mostly to increasing the intensity of this week’s shot of cooler air.”
As for other data points impacting the natural gas market heading into Monday’s session, Bespoke said production estimates were down almost 1.0 Bcf/d compared to last week. Liquefied natural gas volumes were in the upper 11 Bcf/d range, and exports to Mexico were “also elevated,” according to the firm.
“With prices having risen almost 20 cents from last week’s low, it is likely that” power burns “remain weak, but the supply/demand balance as a whole remains stronger,” Bespoke said.
According to Wood Mackenzie estimates, U.S. exports to Mexico hit an all-time high last week at 7.1 Bcf/d and averaged 7.0 Bcf/d between last Monday and Friday.
“The biggest impacts are caused by weak Mexican dry gas output, incremental flows downstream of Wahalajara and increased Mexican power burn and industrial demand,” Wood Mackenzie analyst Nicole McMurrer said in a note to clients Monday.
As a result of these recent trends, the firm’s team of Mexico supply and demand analysts has revised higher its forecast for exports this summer, with U.S.-to-Mexico pipeline flows now projected to average 6.7 Bcf/d for April through October 2021. That’s an increase of 0.4 Bcf/d from the firm’s projections in February.
Meanwhile, looking ahead to this week’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report, NGI is expecting the agency to report a larger-than-average injection into U.S. gas stocks.
NGI is modeling a 47 Bcf injection for the week ended April 16, versus a five-year average build of 26 Bcf. Last year, EIA recorded a 68 Bcf injection for the similar week.
May crude oil futures were up 6 cents to $63.19/bbl as of 8:40 a.m. ET, while May RBOB gasoline was up fractionally to $2.0445/gal.
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