Natural gas futures were trading slightly lower early Wednesday as the market continued to price in weak demand amid the coronavirus pandemic. The May Nymex contract was off 3.7 cents to $1.784/MMBtu at around 8:30 a.m. ET.

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With the market still trying to gauge the unprecedented impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the selling early Wednesday was weighted toward the front of the curve, with winter 2020/21 contracts showing relative strength.

“While it is difficult to pin down exactly what fair value is, this curve structure makes sense,” Bespoke Weather Services said. The firm noted “very low demand” and reports of some canceled liquefied natural gas cargoes for June. This comes as “projected fundamentals by winter could be quite bullish, even in the event that storage fills.

“With volatility high and liquidity low, we still suspect there will be some very erratic price action, at times not seeming to match up with the data we see.”

Looking ahead to Thursday’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report, Energy Aspects issued a preliminary estimate for a 54 Bcf injection for the week ending April 17. The firm estimated a 4 Bcf/d week/week increase in residential/commercial demand for the period based on an uptick in heating demand

Meanwhile, Genscape Inc. modeling as of early Wednesday was showing a 1.7 Bcf/d drop-off in Lower 48 production since the start of the week.

“Before revisions, Lower 48 production fell 1.6 Bcf/d day/day, from 92.6 Bcf/d on Monday to 91.0 Bcf/d yesterday,” the firm said. “However, Tuesday’s production was revised up by 0.9 Bcf/d to 91.9 Bcf/d, a true reduction of around 0.7 Bcf/d.

“Today’s top day numbers show another 0.9 Bcf/d day/day loss, with Lower 48 production currently at 90.9 Bcf/d.” Declines were focused in the East, Gulf Coast and Texas.

In terms of the forecast, Bespoke added a small amount of gas-weighted degree days to its outlook based on slightly cooler trends in the latest runs from the major weather models.

“Regionally, the skew continues to be a cooler lean all the way into early May from the Midwest to the Northeast, with a warm-to-hot lean from the Plains back to the West, with even some record heat in parts of the Southwest.”

June crude oil futures were up 25 cents to $11.82/bbl at around 8:30 a.m. ET, while May RBOB gasoline was up 7.5 cents to around 58.5 cents/gal.