With the natural gas market still waiting for more impressive cooling demand to show up in forecasts, futures probed lower in early trading Tuesday. The June Nymex contract was down 3.7 cents to $2.895/MMBtu at around 8:50 a.m. ET.

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Technical support around $2.900 held for the June contract in Monday’s trading, but this support level “could remain under fire” in Tuesday’s session, according to analysts at EBW Analytics Group.

This comes as recent forecasts have lowered cooling degree day (CDD) expectations for mid to late May, which could “further detract from optimism for a hot start to summer and add to downward pressure on natural gas,” the EBW analysts said. “If support near $2.90 holds against today, program trading could still lead to renewed tests of technical resistance for Nymex gas closer to $3.00 later this week.”

Heating demand for gas will “fall steadily” over the next 10 days, according to the firm.

“Dwindling physical demand and softening fundamental support for natural gas may suggest deeper consolidation ahead and allow gas prices to fade into the mid-$2.80s by the middle of next week,” the EBW analysts said.

The European weather model shed 1 total degree day overnight, maintaining bearish trends from the previous day, according to NatGasWeather.

“It’s this coming weekend through the following week (May 15-24) where weather patterns remain rather bearish, as the northern U.S. warms into the perfect 70s to lower 80s from Chicago to New York City, while the southern U.S. becomes warm to very warm with highs of 80s to 90s.”

However, the “coverage and intensity” of heat over southern portions of the country “still isn’t expected to be as widespread as needed to intimidate,” NatGasWeather said. Late in the month “we expect a better opportunity for more intimidating heat to set up across the southern U.S.”

The longer it takes for models to begin forecasting summer cooling demand, “the greater the potential for the natural gas markets to get increasingly impatient waiting,” the firm said.

Meanwhile, looking ahead to Thursday’s Energy Information Administration storage report, Energy Aspects issued a preliminary estimate for an 85 Bcf injection for the week ended May 7.

The firm estimated a 0.7 Bcf/d week/week decrease in production for the period. However, this was more than offset by a nearly 4 Bcf/d loss in residential/commercial and industrial heating demand, according to Energy Aspects.

June crude oil futures were down 90 cents to $64.02/bbl at around 8:50 a.m. ET, while June RBOB gasoline was off about 1.7 cents to $2.1161/gal.