Colder US Pattern Dec 16-22, Assuming It Doesn’t Trend Warmer Like Dec 2-15 Did
December 9, 2022: Jan’23 nat gas futures closed 24¢ higher Thursday at $5.96, aided by colder weather trends. Nat gas prices were initially lower overnight after the GFS trended 8 HDDs warmer for Dec 16-22, then rallied back to near flat after the EC trended 7 HDDs colder, although still under $6. Most important, both held light national demand the next 6-days, then maintained frigid air over Canada invading the US Dec 16-22 for strong national demand. Although, as the overnight GFS data showed, there’s still ways the pattern doesn’t arrive quite as cold as the nat gas markets are expecting if a warm ridge over the East blocks cold air upstream from advancing into the US as aggressively. But since the overnight EC was colder trending and remained cold enough Dec 16-22, this could be reason nat gas prices don’t fall any further than the overnight low of $5.80. As far as details, warmer than normal temperatures will continue across the southern and eastern US through early next week as highs mid 40s and 50s stretch from Chicago to NYC, and with 70s and 80s over Texas, the South, and Southeast. There will be frosty air over the Rockies and the upper Midwest into next week, although not enough to counter very nice southern and eastern US temperatures. Most important, Arctic air over W. Canada is expected to advance aggressively across into the western and central US Dec 16-22 w/lows of -10s to 20s across the Mountain West and Midwest and 20s and 30s into the southern US, including teens into N. Texas. The East will be last in line for cold to arrive and where the greatest uncertainty to the forecast lies. Bigger picture, the net result of warmer conditions this week into next week will be to flip deficits of -58 Bcf to surpluses by Dec 15, just in time to flip back to deficits as long as cold arrives Dec 16-22.