There are two deeply conflicting sides of the natural gas trade heading into late summer. On one hand, we’re coming off a record setting El Nino that is translating into a La Nina late summer/fall weather pattern. The post El Nino, La Nina weather pattern is already bringing the expected heat that comes with it but speculators want more. They want more heat and they want the hurricane season to be an active one. These are the two bullish components of a fundamentally weak natural gas market. Natural gas producers are selling forward production at their fastest rate since the fall of 2013. The question here becomes a bit more ambiguous as producer selling can have as much to do with selling forward supplies to raise cash as it can the their expectation of current market prices versus forward prices. We’ll look at weather patterns, seasonality and the commercial trader vs speculator balance in the market to determine a proper course of action heading into this market’s critical seasonal period.
The Brexit vote caused a spike in volatility by creating an instant, “risk off” trade. The ensuing sell-off appears to have created a buying opportunity in unleaded gas futures that should continue to be supported by growing domestic demand through the summer vacation season.
The late summer weather is a major variable in the natural gas market as North America heats up and more electricity is generated by natural gas to power the air conditioners. This year seems to be making up for lost time since El Nino played its predicted part in a long cool, spring. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has officially declared this record setting El Nino event, over. This is important as we are currently at the seasonal peak for natural gas and we’ll show that we believe natural gas prices will soften in the near term. However, the transition from El Nino to La Nina will be in full effect this fall and we’ll discuss the trouble that has come with it in the past.
According to the weekly Commitment of Traders (COT) report issued by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), crude oil drillers have sold the most forward production since oil was trading at more than $100 per barrel. Considering that drillers are willing to sell just as much at half the price and that the recent rally to $50 per barrel has been purely speculative, how low will prices go once the speculators get forced out and the producers’ selling drives the market lower?
The Chinese government repeatedly attempts to micro-manage the lives of its citizens. The effects of which continue to be unintended consequences both socially and economically. This week, we’ll discuss the citizens’ pool of money that the government continues to hold hostage and the mechanisms the Chinese government has employed thus far that have created a predictable ripple effect, visible to everyone but their own government. Somehow, they seem to be continually surprised by the unintended consequences of their own actions. We’ve watched Chinese investors’ money run from property to the stock market and now, to commodities. We’ll look at some of the massive scale of fairly predictable rookie trader outcomes that have been their unintended consequences.
Crude oil touches nearly every part of our lives throughout the day. The more we do, the more we use. This is what makes crude oil such a valuable economic forecasting tool. This week, we’ll look at the big picture in crude oil using technical, fundamental and spread data to explain what the market is telling us as we head into the summer months.
Our Commitments of Traders research is based on trading reversals. Today, we’ll look at the weekly unleaded gasoline chart as commercial traders force its turn lower inline with its standard seasonal peak. This is nearly an identical situation to last year. While last year’s rally held out a couple of weeks longer, it’s skid lower lasted through the rest of the year. We’ll identify the setup that created a mechanical Cot Sell signal for Sunday night as well as examining where to take profits on a discretionary basis.
Has the commodity rally that began just before the New Year ran its course? We posed the argument in early January that the technical breakout in interest rates would point towards the general economic activity of 2016. The interest rate breakout higher, towards lower rates would ultimately show itself in the form of deflation, which would in turn, weaken the commodity sector. I believe we are at a major inflection point for the year’s trading.
The heating oil market has developed a textbook pattern for trend following continuation lower. This week, we’ll look at how these long-term, macro-economic trends play out through the eyes of the commercial traders in the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s weekly Commitment of Traders report. We’re going to examine the cycles of accumulation and distribution among the market’s participants as well as where we are in the current cycle. Finally, we’ll end with a shorter time frame chart that details the actual commitment of trader’s buy and sell signals over the past year in the heating oil futures as we begin to develop our energy outlook for 2016.