After rallying much of last week, natural gas futures pared their gains in early trading Monday as the temperature outlook cooled over the weekend. The September Nymex contract was off 24.7 cents to $8.521/MMBtu as of around 8:50 a.m. ET.
Weather models trended cooler over the weekend, including a small loss of 2-3 cooling degree days (CDD) from the European model, according to NatGasWeather.
The American model “lost a heftier 8 CDD, although it’s been running much too hot the past several weeks and was expected to lose demand in the seven- to 150-day period in time, which it did,” NatGasWeather told clients ahead of Monday’s session.
Overall, the upcoming pattern “isn’t nearly as intimidating as it’s been the past few months” from a natural gas market perspective, with potential for the most intense heat in days eight through 15 expected to remain focused over the western Lower 48, the firm added.
“Essentially, the opportunity for widespread extreme heat east of the Plains will drop considerably after this week,” NatGasWeather said. “As such, weather patterns are viewed as seasonal/neutral going forward, a significant change compared to solidly bullish weather patterns the past two months.
“However, the natural gas markets spoke volumes last week by rocketing higher despite more seasonal patterns finally arriving.”
Last week’s rally, which coincided with new developments on the Freeport LNG terminal outage and a disruption to Gulf of Mexico production volumes, rested on “relatively flimsy ground,” according to EBW Analytics Group analyst Eli Rubin. As such, natural gas prices enter the new trading week “poised to test support.”
With strong liquefied natural gas feed gas volumes and production pulling back from recent highs, and with the storage trajectory still tight, the September contract could “springboard higher” off technical support, Rubin said.
On the other hand, the start of the monthly rollover of the UNG exchange traded fund and the upcoming release of the Energy Information Administration’s Drilling Productivity Report — expected to show more supply gains — both suggest “consolidation of last week’s rally is likely,” Rubin added.
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