Natural gas eased on forecasts for less cold weather and lower heating demand.
Natural gas experienced a marginal decline of -0.09% yesterday, settling at 214.8, primarily driven by revised weather forecasts indicating milder conditions and lower heating demand through late December. The futures market has consistently conveyed bearish signals, suggesting that prices for this winter season (November-March) likely peaked in November.
This sentiment is underscored by the narrowing premium of futures for March over April, hitting an all-time low of just one cent per mmBtu. Record-level production and ample gas storage further contribute to the prevailing bearish outlook. The average gas output in the Lower 48 U.S. states dipped to 107.3 bcfd in December from a record 107.8 bcfd in November, with a potential further decrease to a preliminary one-month low of 106.0 bcfd. Meteorological projections anticipate a shift in weather patterns from warmer-than-normal (Dec. 7-10) to near-normal (Dec. 11-14) and back to warmer-than-normal conditions (Dec. 15-22). Despite the warmer outlook, LSEG forecasts a rise in U.S. gas demand from 121.5 bcfd this week to 126.4 bcfd next week, with a downward adjustment from their previous outlook.