Demand gains in the overnight forecasts helped natural gas futures to rebound early Wednesday following a sharp sell-off during the prior session. The expiring May Nymex futures contract was up 2.8 cents to $2.483/MMBtu at around 8:30 a.m. ET.
The June contract, set to take over as the front month after this week, was trading 2.3 cents higher at $2.522.
Weather models overnight added a few gas-weighted degree days to the outlook, including heating demand in the six- to 10-day period and some minor cooling demand across the South over the next couple weeks, according to Bespoke Weather Services.
“We have quietly moved the forecast closer to normal demand levels since last Thursday,” Bespoke said. “Recall back then, the 15-day forecast was around 35 GWDDs below the long-term normal, while today’s is less than 15 GWDDs below normal, with some risk that we further close that gap.
“We also see net demand for the next 15 days now higher when compared with the same dates last year,” and has finally moved past an exceptionally cold stretch in April 2018 that had created “massive year/year weather differences, which could be important when it comes to perception of balances.”
Radiant Solutions noted a mix of changes to its latest six- to 10-day outlook Wednesday, including cooler trends focused in the Rockies and along the northern part of the Lower 48.
“Warmer changes are in the South,” Radiant said. “Overall, this remains a period of lower confidence on larger spreads within the models, particularly in the Rockies, Midwest and East. These areas find themselves along an active storm track, on the periphery of a Southeast-focused ridge.
“Aboves are mostly steady in coverage in the South, while belows and much belows are in the northern Rockies, Plains and Upper Midwest. Mid-period belows accompany high pressure into the Northeast as well.”
In the 11-15 day time frame, Radiant’s latest forecast Wednesday came in “slightly warmer from previous expectations in the Southeast during the early stages.” Otherwise, the forecast was similar to the previous outlook, including “cool support along the Northern Tier and above normal temperatures in parts of the West and Southeast.”
Despite gains in weather-driven demand expectations early this week, futures prices “showed little sign of strength” in Tuesday’s trading, according to EBW Analytics Group.
“In early morning trading, the May contract made a feeble push higher, topping out at just $2.535. When resistance held, the forward curve quickly sold off,” EBW CEO Andy Weissman said. “The May contract fell to as low as $2.445 (a new low for the year) before rebounding slightly on profit-taking late in the day.
“The message from this trading pattern is clear: with demand at its lowest point of the year for the next three to four weeks and a string of triple-digit injections in sight, few if any traders have any interest in stepping in and taking new long positions.”
June crude oil futures were off 4 cents to $66.26/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while May RBOB gasoline was trading about 2.4 cents lower at $2.1072/gal.
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