Natural Gas Forecast: Prices Grind Lower After Gaping Down

As of December 9, natural gas had risen for the fourth straight week to the highest level in two years. Reports indicate the surge was due to colder than average temperatures in recent weeks. However, on December 12, January natural gas gapped down after the move up stalled at $3.777. The gap may be an early indication the move up is exhausted, though we doubt this is the case.

From a technical and fundamental standpoint, it is much too early to definitively state that the move up is over. Forecasts for persistent cold in coming weeks will most likely continue to support prices and the larger scale wave formations for January, February, and March all call for prices to ultimately rise to at least $3.90.

That said, this does not mean that corrections will not take place. Monday’s gap down was most likely the market coming back to reality a bit. The move up has been hard and fast, and if it is going to be sustained for the longer-term, corrections are necessary.

Since gapping down on Monday, prices have slowly inched lower, indicating the decline is most likely corrective. So far, support at $3.47 has held on a closing basis. However, near-term odds favor at least $3.41. This is the 0.618 projection of the primary wave down from $3.777. A close below $3.41 would open the way for confluent support at $3.36 and then $3.30. Unless there is a bearish shift in underlying factors, we expect $3.30 to hold.

January Natural Gas - $0.035 Kase Bar Chart

Initial resistance is $3.57. If prices are going to fall below $3.41, $3.57 will most likely hold. The most important resistance is $3.66. This is the top of Monday’s gap and near the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $3.777. A close over $3.66 would be a strong indication that the downward correction is complete and that the move up is going to continue its way toward $3.90.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so (in this case, a bit longer). Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intra-week updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Natural gas’s recovery from recent lows is reportedly due to forecasts for cooler temperatures that could bring more demand in coming weeks. In addition, prices were bolstered on Wednesday due to a surprise two Bcf withdrawal reported in the EIA Natural Gas Storage Report. However, some analysts have cited record storage levels could still ultimately be bearish for the longer-term.

On Monday, December natural gas formed a potential bullish breakaway gap from $2.852. Bullish breakaway gaps occur when a move down becomes exhausted and prices break higher out of a recent trading range. This is a reversal pattern that could indicate the move down is over, for now.

December Natural Gas

In addition, the 200-day moving average was overcome on Wednesday when December settled at $3.026. This is also bullish and indicates, at a minimum, that an extended upward correction to challenge recent swing highs is likely underway.

The wave formation up from $2.546 met important resistance at $3.062 on Wednesday. A small correction might take place first, but the wave formations are poised for $3.17. This is key resistance because it is in line with the $3.163 swing high, which is also crucial on the continuation chart. It is also the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $3.556 to $2.546. A move above $3.17 ($3.31 for January) is doubtful without help from external factors (i.e. cold weather) but would open the way for new 2016 highs.

That said, December may still try to fill the gap from $2.852. Look for initial support at $2.95 and key support at $2.85. The $2.85 level is not only in line with the gap, but also the 38 percent retracement of the move up from $2.546.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intra-week updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Natural gas has fallen hard ahead of November’s expiration. Speculation that natural gas storage could reach record levels ahead of winter and warmer than normal weather forecasts for the next few weeks are reportedly reasons for falling prices.

Prompt month November futures fell to $2.627 on Wednesday where the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $2.168 to $3.366 was met. Prices rallied into the close and November settled at $2.731. This setup a daily morning star and hammer, which indicates prices may rise to $2.82 and even $2.88 before November expires on Thursday.

The negative outlook has also spilled over into the December contract, which fell below the crucial $3.01 swing low on Wednesday. This was negative because the move below $3.01 takes out what had been December’s primary up wave, $2.37 – 3.368 – 3.01. This significantly dampens the odds for a near-term recovery and a move to new highs.

December natural gas chart

The outlook is negative and there are no definitive technical factors that indicate the move down is over. However, the daily chart is oversold on the KaseCD and setup for a KCDpeak (bullish turn signal). In addition, the 200-day moving average at $2.99 held on a closing basis. These factors and the rally from $2.972 to $3.083 indicate an upward correction to at least $3.13 should take place Thursday. From that point, the move down may continue, or at least test $2.99 again. A close over $3.13 would call for a larger correction to $3.20 and possibly $3.26. This would also indicate a trading range is likely on the horizon.

The 200-day average at $2.99 will be December’s crucial support on Thursday. A close below this would solidify the negative outlook and open the way for $2.93 and lower. Below $2.99, the next major target is $2.82. This is the 62 percent retracement from $2.37 to $3.556.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intra-week updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Natural gas was spurred higher last Thursday after government data showed a smaller than expected build for the week ended October 7. However, the move’s strength and resilience reportedly came as a surprise for many market participants due to mild weather across most of the U.S. The market remains well supplied according to many analysts and rig counts have begun to climb. The natural gas rig count expanded by 11 last week, which is the largest increase since late 2014.

This week, November natural gas prices have fallen to $3.144 so far and settled below major support at $3.21 on Wednesday. The move down stalled just before reaching the next target at $3.12.

The subsequent move up from $3.144 has been shallow, choppy, and is forming a bearish flag. Bearish flags are reasonably reliable patterns that indicate the market should continue to decline. The lower trend line of the flag is $3.15 and the upper trend line is $3.21. The $3.21 level may be tested first but should hold because odds favor a break lower out of the flag.

November 2016 Natural Gas - $0.035 Kase Bar

Tomorrow, look for prices to break lower out of the flag and fall to at least $3.12. A close below this would call for $3.06. For the move up to continue in the near-term, $3.06 must hold. This is the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $2.866 to $3.366. A close below $3.06 would shift odds in favor of testing the $2.866 swing low.

Conversely, a break higher out of the flag and close over $3.21 would call for $3.27 and $3.32. A move above $3.32 would take out the wave down from $3.366 that projects to $3.06 and lower.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intra-week updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Media sources state that traders and analysts are looking to current warm weather in the south and anticipation of a colder than normal winter as catalysts for higher natural gas prices. However, some reports indicate many traders and analysts remain skeptical and have stated that the move up is too soon in anticipation of real weather. These traders and analysts are concerned that an early move higher may lead to disappointment due to inventories that could exceed record levels by the end of this month.

Natural gas’s move up has been resilient and reflects the market’s desire for a longer-term bullish move. The bullish sentiment was reflected by the move to $3.30 on Monday. However, this was a highly confluent wave projection that has held and November has pulled back to $3.184 so far.

From a technical standpoint, there is little doubt that the move down is corrective. The decline has been shallow and choppy and may form a bullish expanding wedge. However, today’s close below Monday’s midpoint and the waves down from $3.30 call for the correction to extend at least a bit more before the move up continues.

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Support at $3.18 is still important. A move below $3.18 would call for at least $3.14, which is a confluent wave projection and retracement level. A close below $3.14 would open the way for a more significant correction before prices rise to a new 2016 high.

Resistance at $3.27 must hold for the correction to extend to $3.14. A move above $3.27 before $3.14 is met would indicate the correction is complete and call for prices to rise to crucial targets above $3.30.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intra-week updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

November natural gas has shown signs of strength over the past few days. November held support near $2.90 and on Tuesday completed a daily hammer when prices settled above $2.94. A bullish RSI divergence was confirmed at $2.866 on several intra-day charts. On Wednesday, the move up rallied to a very important $3.05 target ahead of the close. Finally, as of Wednesday, the weekly candlestick forms a bullish engulfing line.

These positive factors indicate the move up should continue to $3.09, $3.12, and possibly $3.18 over the next few days. A move to these targets would also take out the crucial $3.079 swing high. This would significantly dampen the odds for a continued decline to targets below $2.90.

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That said, $3.05 is a potential stalling point. This is because $3.05 is the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $3.166 to $2.866 and the 1.00 projection of the wave $2.866 – 2.99 – 2.922. There are no definitive factors that indicate the move will stall at $3.05, but caution is warranted.

Should prices pullback from $3.05, support at $2.98 should hold. The key level for the near-term is $2.94. This is the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $2.866 to $3.058. A close below $2.94 would call for another test of the $2.866 swing low and most likely signal that a trading range is forming.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intra-week updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Reports indicate increasing OPEC exports out of Nigeria and Libya and a partial shutdown of a major U.S. gasoline pipeline weighed on crude oil prices last week. In addition, U.S. rig counts rose to 416, the highest level since February.

That said, some traders are turning their attention to the late September meeting between members of OPEC and Russia to discuss capping production. However, pundits think any meaningful consensus coming out of the meeting is unlikely.

The majority of technical factors are negative and call for crude oil’s decline to continue.

Early Monday, November WTI rallied to $44.7. However, the move up stalled and failed to settle above Friday’s $44.32 open. A bullish Harami line and star setup formed, but the long upper shadow indicates the pattern will likely fail.

crude oil

Tomorrow, look for at least $43.1 and possibly $42.7. Both targets connect to major support at $42.1, which is a confluent projection for the primary waves down from $50.0 and $48.38. This is also the last major target protecting the $40.77 swing low. Therefore, $42.1 may hold, at least initially.

Resistance at $44.3 is still important for the near term. However, key resistance for the next day or so will be $44.7. A close over this would call for an extended upward correction to $45.3, $45.9, and possibly $46.5.

This is a brief analysis and outlook for the next day or so. Our weekly Crude Oil Commentary and intra-week updates are a much more detailed and thorough energy price forecast. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Natural gas continues to oscillate in an erratic and corrective range. After stalling near $3.00 on July 1, the prompt-month futures contracts have challenged the boundaries of a range between nominally $2.53 and $2.95. This is similar to the range that natural gas traded in for nearly nine months of 2015 before breaking lower in mid-September.

Longer-term, the outlook is positive and natural gas will likely rise to targets above $3.00 before the end of the year. However, since July 1 there has not been enough fundamental support to sustain a move above $3.00. The summer was hot this year, and demand was strong, but production kept pace. The market is well supplied and will likely end the injection season near or just above historically high storage levels as winter approaches.

Many long-term technical factors are positive, but there are short-term factors that indicate another test of support is looming.

Early Wednesday, October natural gas rose above the very important $2.949 swing high and was poised to overcome the July 1 high of $3.022. However, October stalled at $2.978 and fell to $2.852. The reversal and blow-off high indicate the market is not ready for a break higher out of the corrective trading range.

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The recovery from $2.852 at the end of the day was somewhat positive. However, momentum is setup for bearish divergence on the daily chart. A bearish divergence forms when prices are rising to new swing highs but momentum is making lower highs. This signal shows that the move is nearing exhaustion and that a statically significant turn may take place. To confirm the divergence, a swing high in price and momentum must form over the next few days.

A close below $2.87 will complete Tuesday’s shooting star reversal pattern and open the way for $2.83 and $2.72.

If the move up is going to close over $2.95 and rise to the next target at $3.03 soon, $2.83 should hold. This is the 38 percent retracement of the move up from $2.58.

Key support is $2.72 because it is the 0.618 projection of the wave down from $3.022 and the 62 percent retracement of the move up from $2.58. A close below $2.72 would call for another test of the recent ranges lower threshold.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intra-week updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

According to some pundits, natural gas’s recent move up is due to improved balancing of supply and demand. Government data shows the degree to which inventories are up this year relative to the five-year average has continued to shrink. It has been a hot summer, and demand has remained relatively strong.

That said, production has done well to keep pace with demand during summer, and there is a limit to the amount of gas that can be stored. Many analysts project that injection season will end at or near record levels again this year. Therefore, the market should be well supplied ahead of winter.

Fundamental factors will rule the longer-term. However, there are still many questions that need to be answered over the next six to eight weeks before the market can realistically determine a longer-term direction. For the near-term, a trading range between nominally $2.55 and $2.95 is still the most logical conclusion for now. Keep in mind, for nearly nine months of 2015 the prompt month futures contract traded in this range.

From a technical standpoint, October natural gas was poised to rise to $3.04 after overcoming resistance at $2.86 the $2.947 swing high late last week. The pullback from $2.949 is likely corrective and stalled near $2.81 on Wednesday. This is the 38 percent retracement of the move up from $2.58 and the 1.618 projection of the wave down from $2.949.

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If the move up is going to extend to new highs in the near term, $2.81 needs to hold. In addition, October will need to finally close over $2.95. Otherwise, a close below $2.81 would signal trading range and call for confluent support at $2.71 to be challenged.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intraweek updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.

Media sources indicate natural gas prices rose for the third straight session on Wednesday due to concerns that a storm could enter the Gulf of Mexico. However, hurricane threats to production are not as alarming as they had been in the past. The Gulf of Mexico accounts for less than five percent of domestic natural gas production. Most production has moved onshore due to the shale boom in recent years. In fact, many analysts, including ourselves, believe that a hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico would rather lead to decreased demand due to power outages and other disruptions.

Whatever the reasons (and there are likely many) for the increase in natural gas prices over the past few days, it is doubtful that a storm or hurricane entering the Gulf of Mexico will do much in the way of bolstering a price spike.

From a technical perspective, September natural gas rose to key resistance at $2.81 early Wednesday. This is the 62 percent retracement of the decline from $2.99 to $2.523 and the 1.382 projection of the wave $2.523 – 2.697 – 2.569. The 1.618 projection is $2.85, which is also near the trend line connecting $2.99 and $2.911. A close over $2.85 would call for $2.911 to be overcome and for prices to possibly challenge $2.99 and higher.

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That said, the range between $2.81 and $2.85 is a prime area for the move up to stall. Wednesday settled at $2.796 and prices have already started to pullback in late trading Wednesday afternoon. Look for initial support at $2.76 and $2.71. The latter should hold if the move up is going to continue because it is the 38 percent retracement from $2.523 to $2.819. The 62 percent retracement of this move defines key support for the near term at $2.64.

The most likely scenario right now is for prices to settle back into a trading range between nominally $2.64 and $2.85. This range dominated trading for most of July and could become dominant again in coming weeks as we move into the heart of shoulder month trading ahead of winter.

This is a brief natural gas forecast for the next day or so. Our weekly Natural Gas Commentary and intraweek updates provide a much more detailed and thorough analysis. If you are interested in learning more, please sign up for a complimentary four-week trial.