After rocketing higher in the previous session, natural gas futures pared some of their recent gains early Tuesday as weather models showed upcoming heat over the eastern Lower 48 easing toward the end of the month. The June Nymex contract was down 3.5 cents to $3.074/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.
Weather models as of early Tuesday continued to show light national demand for the remainder of the current work week, according to NatGasWeather.
“Demand will increase late this weekend into the middle of next week as strong upper high pressure builds over the eastern U.S. with highs of mid-80s to lower 90s,” the firm said. However, both the American and European models “still favor demand fading to lighter levels May 27-June 1 as only the Southwest, Texas and portions of the South are forecast to be hot enough to satisfy.”
Still, this late May/early June time frame will need to be monitored closely, NatGasWeather said, given that should it trend hotter in time “it wouldn’t take much…to look increasingly bullish.”
Following a double-digit gain in Monday’s trading, where natural gas prices go from here is “uncertain,” according to analysts at EBW Analytics Group.
“Technically, the inability to close above $3.13 suggests a test of support at $3.06 is likely to occur next, even if futures subsequently move higher,” the EBW analysts said. “With milder weather expected before Memorial Day, though, May could struggle to reach the next major resistance level at $3.17-3.23.”
Still, Monday’s price action indicates strong “underlying bullish sentiment” in the market, according to EBW.
“Even if natural gas prices fall back to the low-$3.00 range shortly, additional gains are likely as soon as sustained hot weather arrives,” the analysts said.
Meanwhile, for Thursday’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) storage report, which covers the week ended May 14, Energy Aspects issued a preliminary estimate for an 80 Bcf injection.
The firm modeled a 1.2 Bcf/d week/week drop in power burn for the period, coinciding with a 12 GW increase in renewable generation. Liquefied natural gas demand declined an estimated 0.3 Bcf/d amid observed declines during the period at the Cameron, Sabine Pass and Freeport facilities, according to Energy Aspects.
Five estimates had been submitted to Bloomberg as of early Tuesday, with a median prediction of 59 Bcf and a range of 54 Bcf to 63 Bcf. Last year EIA recorded an 84 Bcf injection for the period, and the five-year average is a build of 86 Bcf.
June crude oil futures were up 27 cents to $66.54/bbl at around 8:45 a.m. ET Tuesday, while June RBOB gasoline was up about 1.6 cents to $2.1746/gal.
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