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Light Volumes Traded in Sluggish Cash Market

Light Volumes Traded in Sluggish Cash Market

Everyone seems to be "joining the slow club," one source remarked Wednesday as the last day of June futures trading only nudged June baseload and the day-trading markets slightly higher from the holding patterns established Tuesday. Today will be much more active, he said, because the Nymex closes early Friday due to Memorial Day, and time is running out to get deals done.

A Gulf Coast trader, who only did one fixed-price incremental deal yesterday at Columbia Gulf onshore in the low $2.20s, guessed people are waiting for the screen to make a move. "Around the office, people are saying the screen is going to fall sharply. I think people are waiting for that to happen and then they'll really work it."

Many Midcontinent points were being offered at flat to index for June, a source in the area said, but offers have not translated into sales. "Fundamentally, there isn't much to stand on. Weather, especially, is non-existent. Frankly, we're having a hard time selling everything we want to. It tends to make you bearish when you see end-users, who used to be your market, selling gas." In the few deals he was able to accomplish, the bearish trader reported a baseload Northern Natural-demarc deal at $2.13 and an ANR trade at $2.12.

All was quiet on the West Coast, with incremental prices flat from yesterday. One trader who bought Northwest Domestic at $2.025 early in the day said it came off in afternoon trading because electric utilities started buying smaller volumes.

The American Gas Association report of a 73 Bcf injection for the week ending May 21 fell on the low side of the industry's expectations. Many traders had expected an injection of 80-100 Bcf. This reinforces the notion that there is less gas available in this market, a Southeast buyer said, adding that analysts say supply is off by 3%.

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