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Robust Northeast Gains Lift NatGas Cash; Futures Drift Higher

Physical natural gas for next-day delivery rose Monday, but it took hefty gains in the Northeast and Appalachia to offset flat pricing in Texas, Louisiana, and the Midwest, as well as a weak price regime in the Rockies and California. The NGI National Spot Gas Average rose 4 cents to $2.53.

The bearish case, at least technically, is wearing thin, and futures traders sense that time is running out. But Monday’s trading was lackluster, and September was held to less than a five-cent range. At the close September had risen 2.7 cents to $2.801, and October had gained 2.3 cents to $2.840. September crude oil slipped 19 cents to $49.39/bbl.

Northeast price points led the charge higher in the physical market as a combination of pipeline constraints and warming near-term temperature trends were enough to keep a bid under the market.

Iroquois Gas Transmission reported that Tuesday nominations "are at capacity and sealed from further increases" for the Brookfield Interconnect with Algonquin Gas Transmission. "Receipts through Secondary firm service are subject to allocation. Customers will be advised if further capacity becomes available during the day as volumes are nominated and confirmed," the company said on its website.

Deliveries to Iroquois Zone 2 jumped 59 cents to $2.69 and gas at the Algonquin Citygate rose 16 cents to $2.10. Deliveries to Iroquois Waddington rose 14 cents to $2.64.

Gas on Tetco M-3 Delivery gained 20 cents to $1.73 and gas bound for New York City on Transco Zone 6 rose 17 cents to $1.90.

Although overall longer-term temperature forecasts look to mute price advances, near-term temperatures are expected to trend higher in key eastern markets. Wundergound forecast that Boston's Monday high of 77 would slip to 74 Tuesday before ramping up to 84 Wednesday, 3 degrees above normal. New York City's 77 high on Monday was forecast to climb to 79 Tuesday and 83 by Wednesday, a degree above normal.

Next-day power markets were mixed. Intercontinental Exchange reported on-peak Tuesday power at the ISO New England's Massachusetts Hub rose 30 cents to $25.80/MWh, and next-day peak power at the PJM West terminal fell $1.36 to $27.50/MWh.

Other market centers were mixed. Gas at the Chicago Citygate added a penny to $2.69, and deliveries to the Henry Hub fell a penny to $2.75. Gas on El Paso Permian shed 1 cent to $2.46 and gas at the NGPL Midcontinent Pool rose a nickel to $2.52.

Kern Receipts were quoted at $2.46, unchanged, and Kern Delivery came in at $2.63, down 24 cents. Gas at the PG&E Citygates changed hands a penny lower at $3.19 and gas priced at the SoCal Border came in at $2.61, down 13 cents.

From a technical perspective the market downside has some issues. According to Elaine Levin, president at Powerhouse LLC, a Washington, DC, trading and risk management firm, the futures are in the fifth wave of a five-wave Elliott Wave downtrend, but all is not clear sailing for the bears.

"There are a couple of issues we have," Levin said. "There is an indicator [PTI, profit taker index] that tells you how long you should stay in the trend of the fifth wave. You should be short going into the fifth wave and the indicator would have had you out of this thing.

"There are some retracement lines, and the bounce of the fourth wave [up] says that the likelihood of making a new low [March] is quite low."

Mike DeVooght of DEVO Capital sees technical weakness begetting technical weakness. "Now that we have broken the $2.80 level on a closing basis, the next support level is at $2.60. On a trading basis, we will hold out producer collars and will stand aside for speculators," he said in a weekend report to clients.

The National Hurricane Center at 5 p.m. EDT reported that Tropical Storm Franklin in the western Caribbean was expected to strengthen before making landfall in the Yucatan. It was located 170 miles east northeast of Belize City and was at 50 mph winds. Present trajectory was to the northwest at 13 mph.

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