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James Hyerczyk
Natural Gas

Natural gas futures surged last week with the move driven by colder-trending weather data. Spot prices remained under pressure late in the week despite forecasts calling for more cold in the Midwest and Northeast over the weekend. However, futures prices seemed to be responsive to the addition of “numerous” heating degree days in the Global Forecast System’s (GFS) midday run on Friday, according to NatGasWeather.

Last week, December natural gas futures settled at $2.714, up $0.255 or +10.37%.

U.S. Energy Information Administration Weekly Storage Report

The EIA reported Thursday that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 89 billion cubic feet for the week-ending October 25. The build came in on the high side of wide-ranging estimates between 66 Bcf and 94 Bcf, although most projections centered an 85 Bcf injection. The build was also higher than last year’s 49 Bcf injection and the 65 Bcf five-year average.

Total stocks now stand at 3.695 trillion cubic feet, up 559 billion cubic feet from a year ago and 52 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said.

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Short-Term Weather Outlook

According to NatGasWeather for November 1 to November 7, “A cold front with rain and snow will exit the East Coast today, cooling highs into the 40s and 50s. It remains frosty across much of the western and central US with lows of -0s to 30s, although gradually warming this weekend. A reinforcing cold shot will follow across the Midwest and Northeast this weekend, followed by a brief break early next week. However, another frigid cold shot will follow mid-next week over the central and northern US, then spreading into the South and East late in the week with lows of -0s to 30s. Overall, national demand will be high-very high much of the next 7-days.”

Weekly December Natural Gas

Weekly Forecast

NatGasWeather made a comment on Friday about the mid-term outlook saying, “Demand was most notably added November 12-15 as the GFS favors another strong cold shot into the northern U.S.”

However, it also added that the outlook advertised in the European model Friday “just wasn’t as cold as the GFS. It still has three cold shots into the U.S. the next two weeks, but the one “lining up to arrive closer to mid-November “isn’t nearly as impressive with the amount of cold.”

Based on this assessment, NatGasWeather concluded this sets up “big risks over the weekend whether either the GFS” proves to be “much too cold or the European not nearly cold enough. We must expect a gap depending on which is more correct.”

Technically, the main range is formed by the main top at $3.009 from the week-ending May 24 to the main bottom at $2.339 from the week-ending August 9. Its 50% to 61.8% retracement zone comes in at $2.674 to $2.753. The market closed inside this zone last week.

Trader reaction to $2.674 to $2.753 should determine the direction of the market this week. Look for an upside bias on a sustained move over $2.674 with a main top at $2.884 the first upside target. A sustained move under $2.674 will indicate the presence of sellers with $2.563 the nearest downside target.

Traders should also be prepared for a gap opening in either direction because of the divergence between the U.S. GFS model and the European model.

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