Stuff like this article talking about natural gas futures.
“The first two weeks of January, you’re going to see the market turn around from December cold,” said Dave Melita, president and chief meteorologist of Melita Weather Associates in Durango, Colorado. “The snow cover will be melting fast. It will be 20 degrees above average on some days.”I tend to take these comments with some gravity as these guys are betting real margin money on NG which is very sensitive to weather.
Temperatures in Chicago will dip to a low of 19 degrees Fahrenheit (7 Celsius) on Jan. 1, 2 degrees above normal and 14 degrees higher than a year earlier, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. New York will fall to 38 degrees, 10 above average. About 52 percent of U.S. households use natural gas for heat.
Natural gas for January delivery advanced 11.8 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $4.23 per million British thermal units at 12:29 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract expires today. Gas for February delivery rose 13 cents to $4.285. Heating demand drove gas prices above $6 last January.
Higher-than-average temperatures will persist throughout the Midwest and eastern U.S., with potential in February for “blowtorch hot” weather compared with seasonal norms, Melita said.
The Energy Department reported last week that inventories declined by 184 billion cubic feet in the week ended Dec. 17 to 3.368 trillion cubic feet. Stockpiles reached a record 3.84 trillion the week ended Nov. 5.
Gas stockpiles will total 1.833 trillion cubic feet at the end of the winter heating season in March, about 171 billion cubic feet higher than at the end of March 2010, the Energy Department said Dec. 7 in its Short-Term Energy Outlook.
U.S. natural gas production may reach a record high of 62.09 billion cubic feet a day this year, the department said.
“It’s a pretty bearish picture weather wise, and we’re really not seeing a decline in production,” said Hamza Khan, an analyst with the Schork Group Inc., a consulting company in Villanova, Pennsylvania.[More] [My bold]
And speaking of margin calls, I'm guessing more than a few grain merchandisers are looking at a similar working capital Money Pit they barely escaped two years ago. I've heard far-forward contracts are already being curtailed and also that few grain buyers really took serious steps to off-load their margin risk with swaps or similar financial devices.
Which means a bullish surprise in the January report - like lower final production and/or relentless demand - could close up the shops again except for nearby delivery.
And I don't doubt more than few farmers are shuffling cash to cover positions taken earlier.
Another fiasco in the grain marketing system would not engender warm feelings of confidence in our system, IMHO.