Midweek Natural Gas Forecast – April 29, 2015

For the second week in a row natural gas futures gapped lower on Monday. This might be an exhaustion gap, which in many cases signals the end of a long and drawn out trend. The top of the gap at $2.555 has been overcome as of Wednesday midday, and a close over this would call for an extended correction to at least $2.67, the top of last week’s gap and the 38 percent retracement from $2.982. These technical factors could be an early warning that a bottom has finally been made.

That said, we think it is premature to definitively state the bottom has been made. We will hold off on delving too deeply into that conversation until at least $2.67 is overcome. Most technical and fundamental factors are still negative, and while we do think the market is nearing a bottom, most evidence points to a target about 10-15 cents lower. The June contract met confluent support at $2.48, but the key objective that we have identified for weeks in our detailed natural gas forecast has not been met yet. A close back below $2.555 before the end of the week would signal that the upward correction has failed again.

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Natural Gas Prices

June WTI crude oil has oscillated in the range of a broadening wedge over the last eight trading days. The pattern is bullish, but the euphoria of WTI’s recent price surge is waning. Mixed technical and fundamental factors indicate the pattern will fail if the $58.41 swing high is not overcome soon.

Key technical support for the near term is $55.3 because it is the 1.00 target for the wave down from $58.82, and intersects with the lower trend line of the expanding wedge. This wave stalled at its 0.618 projection of $56.5, so the market is sitting on the teetering edge of a decline to $55.3 or push higher to overcome $58.41. A close over $58.41 would confirm a break higher out of the wedge and would open the way for an extended upward correction. A move below $56.5 would open the way for $55.3 to be challenged. Overall, odds are still slightly in favor of the move up and a break higher out of the wedge, but a close below $55.3 would indicate the pattern has failed.

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WTI Crude Oil

Natural gas futures nearly filled Monday’s gap down from $2.625. This is crucial resistance because it is near the 38 percent retracement from $2.949 and the confirmation point of April 15th’s morning star. A close over $2.625 would call for the upward correction to extend and challenge key resistance at $2.77. We still think resistance will hold, and a move below the $2.533 swing low will shift odds strongly back in favor of challenging the $2.475 low again.

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natural gas forecast

NY Harbor ULSD May futures fell to 187.35 on Monday, but the decline is corrective and forms an intraday bullish pennant (not shown). Support at 182.7, the 38 percent retracement from 166.53 should hold, though an extended correction to the 62 percent retracement at 176.5 would not be out of the ordinary at this point. A close over 190.9, the 1.618 projection from 164.9 would confirm the short-term positive tone and call for a split target at 205.0. This is the 2.764 projection from 164.9 and the 1.00 target from the 155.66 low, and is the most likely stalling point.

ULSD

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May natural gas futures stalled at $2.475 after meeting the 0.618 target for the wave $2.949 – 2.583 – 2.719. A close over $2.576 will complete the bullish morning star and a close over $2.624 would confirm it. In addition, the confirmed bullish KaseCD divergence and second class long KEES permissions indicate the upward correction should extend. A normal correction will hold the 38 percent retracement from $2.949 at $2.66. An extended correction is expected to hold $2.77, the 62 percent retracement.

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natural gas prices

Since mid-March prices for the May RBOB Gasoline futures contract have oscillated in a narrowing range and formed a coil pattern. Coils are patterns that indicate market indecisiveness, which has definitely been the case for the entire crude oil infrastructure since the beginning of the year. Coils are not as reliable as flags, pennants, and wedges at predicting the direction of the breakout, coils do tend to break in the direction of the trend, in this case down.

RBOB Gasoline

On Monday, the upper trend line of the coil was tested and held. Prices fell at the end of the day, and the evening star setup that formed indicates a test of support and the lower trend line of the coil should be tested later this week.

A close below 172.7, the 0.618 projection of the wave down from 197.95 would open the way for at least 161.7 and possibly 150.7 as he 1.00 and 1.382 projections, respectively.

A close over 185.0 would indicate prices have broken higher out of the coil and call for another test of crucial resistance at 197.3, which is the 0.618 projection of the wave up from 152.34.

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From day-to-day natural gas prices are oscillating back and forth on short term speculation and headlines. At one moment we read that the weather forecast is cooler than normal for the next few weeks and then a headline says the forecast is normal. In addition, rig counts are down, but the rate at which they are declining is leveling off. Storage levels are high, and government data shows that production is on pace to increase by five percent this year. The point is that it is hard to get a handle on the fundamental factors right now, and that is fairly typical for this time of year in the shoulder months between the break of the winter heating season and summer cooling demand. However, during this time the technical analysis factors can tell us a lot about how events may unfold, especially for the near term.

The natural gas forecast looks weak ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update. Prices are falling again after last Thursday’s four percent gain ahead of the long weekend. Thursday’s move formed a daily bullish and engulfing line, weekly bullish piercing pattern, and confirmed a daily divergence on the KasePO. However, the inability to follow through this week, and the potential for a close below Thursday’s $2.657 midpoint today, does not bode well for an extended upward correction before new contract lows are made.

As it stands, the wave formation down from $2.949 calls for $2.49 once natural gas prices close below the $2.56 target. A close below $2.56 and decline to $2.49 and lower is the most likely scenario that will unfold, unless there is another bullish shock from this week’s EIA report.

Natural Gas Prices

Overall, most factors for the short term are negative. Momentum on the KasePO is declining, and a new swing low below $2.583 would negate the bullish divergence. The KaseCD is also declining, but is setup for a mini-divergence between the $2.633 and $2.613 swing lows, so caution is warranted. The KEES indicator is showing strong first class short permissions (magenta dots) on the 240-minute Kase Bar chart, and a short trade was triggered this morning when the red S formed.

A close below last Thursday’s $2.657 midpoint would certainly increase the odds of a decline to $2.56 tomorrow. However, a move back above this at the end of the day today would increase the uncertainty of a continued decline and could open the way for $2.72 to be challenged again. This is the key resistance level for the near term, and a move above this would call for an extended correction. This is a less likely scenario, but is not unlikely.

To conclude, the market knows what its support and resistance levels are and the near term direction will be decided by a close beyond these levels. A close below $2.56 will call for at least $2.49. Conversely, a move back above $2.657 would call for another test of major resistance at $2.72.

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Natural gas had been supported by late winter weather in regions of the U.S. through late last week. However, as expected, natural gas prices finally broke lower out of the large scale corrective pattern that formed during the calendar month of March. The move down is poised to continue, but in the very short term, there may be a small pullback first.

The May futures contract broke out of another small bearish flag this morning on the 240-minute equivalent Kase Bar chart and fell to a new contract low of $2.583. This is an important area of support, and a potential short term stalling point because May’s $2.583 low is in line with the 1.00 target for the move down from $2.949 (as shown in the chart above), and is also near the continuation chart’s swing lows of $2.567 and $2.578. In addition, a bullish KasePO divergence (green trend line) was confirmed this morning.

Natural Gas Prices

All of these factors are positive for the very short term. They indicate that a pullback may take place ahead of tomorrow’s U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) Natural Gas Weekly Update. However, the longer-term technical and fundamental factors indicate resistance should hold and that the move down will extend. Once natural gas prices have definitively broken support between $2.57 and $2.60, look for $2.51 and $2.46, the latter of which is also the 0.618 projection of the compound wave $2.949 – 2.608 – 2.686.

Look for resistance at $2.65 to hold. This is the 21 percent retracement of the decline from $2.949 and is near the lower trend line of the small bearish flag that broke lower this morning. Even a pullback to $2.72, which is the 38 percent retracement, would be considered a normal correction. A close over $2.72 is doubtful without a bullish surprise from external factors.


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Brent crude’s failure to close above the $57.5 completion point of the weekly morning star setup (circled in green) was negative and indicates the geopolitically driven move up that took place last week may be short lived. The Brent crude price rose modestly on Monday, but most short-term technical factors indicate it should test $53.1 again. A close below this would call for $49.2, which is the last target protecting the $48.95 contract low.

Look for resistance at $57.5 and $60.05. A close over the latter would open the way for the $63.66 swing high to be challenged.

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Brent Crude Prices

WTI crude oil rose for a second straight day due to the declining dollar. The long-term bias is still negative, so the move up is corrective. However, mixed fundamental and technical factors indicate the correction should extend to at least $48.2 before settling into another trading range. This is the 1.00 projection for the wave up from $44.03 and the 38 percent retracement of the decline from $54.0. A close over $48.2 would call for $50.4, the 1.618 projection and the 62 percent retracement. Look for immediate support at the $45.33 and $44.77 swing lows.

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WTI Crude Oil