Natural gas futures continued to rocket higher in early trading Wednesday as forecasts advertised potential record early-season heat regionally, exacerbating supply concerns. Coming off a 47.9-cent rally in the previous session, the June Nymex contract was up another 46.8 cents to $8.422/MMBtu at around 8:50 a.m. ET.
Prices as of early Wednesday had advanced beyond $8.197, a key resistance level pegged by ICAP Technical Analysis. Bulls had tried and failed to break through this barrier in Tuesday’s session, ICAP analyst Brian LaRose observed.
“That said, it looks more like they ran out of time rather than steam,” LaRose said. “Still peg $8.509-8.535-8.606 as our next and nearest objective if that proves to be the case.”
In terms of fundamental indicators, updated data was looking bullish heading into Wednesday’s session, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
Estimates showed production “starting the day under 92 Bcf/d,” the firm said. “On top of that, we have record heat on the way in the key south-central region. Yes, it is just early May, but we are talking heat in places like Texas that would be a few degrees hotter even compared to normal temperatures in the middle of summer.”
Without production growth, supply levels will not be adequate “if this kind of heat sticks around, and that is a risk in the South, where we have been leaning hotter with our summer ideas,” Bespoke added. “If that pans out, we easily will go over $10 in prompt month over the next several weeks, barring massive supply gains.”
The upcoming weather pattern should deliver enough demand over the next 10 days to keep stockpiles close to 300 Bcf below five-year average levels, according to NatGasWeather.
After that, “minor improvements are possible May 12-20, but only as long as hotter trends don’t show up in time,” the firm said. “Essentially, the background state will remain relatively bullish into the foreseeable future” without a “notable jump” in production.
Highs in the 90s and 100s over Texas and the Southern Plains will drive demand higher this weekend, but “rather pleasant” temperatures for other parts of the country will curb gains nationally, NatGasWeather said.
“Hot conditions will linger across the South and Southeast next week,” the firm said. “…However, the overnight continues to favor a bearish-leaning pattern” for next Wednesday through May 18. That’s when total degree days are expected to drop to below-normal levels on comfortably warmer conditions in the northern United States and less intense highs over southern portions of the Lower 48.
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