Arctic Blast Late This Week, But EC Fades Demand After
Monday, January 31: March’22 nat gas prices rocketed 55¢ higher early Friday to $4.88 before easing to $4.64. Although, it paled in comparisons to Feb’22 crazy expiration where prices spiked more than $2. Decent swings between warmer and colder trends in the weather data over the weekend, but in the end, both the GFS and EC were only 1-2 HDDs changed compared to Friday’s data. Both the GFS forecast a milder break early this week for lighter national demand after a powerful and frosty weekend winter storm brought snow and strong winds to the East, including power outages and freeze-offs. Where the pattern remains cold and quite bullish is late this week through the coming weekend as a frigid Arctic blast sweeps across the Midwest, Plains, and Northeast with lows of -20 to 20s, including lows of 10s to 30s deep into Texas and the South to aid strong national demand. However, after a milder break Feb 8-9, the GFS and EC models diverge on the pattern Feb 10-13 and where the GFS forecasts additional cold shots arriving across the northern US. The EC disagrees and forecasts a strong warm up across the southern and eastern US, confining cold air to the lower population states of the N. Rockies and Plains for much lighter national demand. Nat gas prices are solidly higher today, even after dropping well off overnight highs that briefly exceeded $5. Gains are likely due to the late week Arctic shot, and with the nat gas markets preferring the colder GFS over the milder EC for Feb 10-13.