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Physical NatGas, Futures Ratchet Lower; November Loses 8 Cents

Next-day physical natural gas fell in Tuesday's trading as any kind of supportive weather conditions proved elusive and a weak screen was more than enough motivation to keep buyers on the sidelines.

Strength in the Marcellus Shale region was insufficient to offset broad declines at most market points, and the NGI National Spot Gas Average fell 4 cents to $2.38. Eastern points on average were flat. Futures continued to squirm within their longstanding trading range, and at the close November had fallen 8.4 cents to $2.586 and December had fallen 7.4 cents to $2.763. November crude oil gained 80 cents to $45.23/bbl.

Next-day gas at major market centers declined as temperatures were forecast to slide under seasonal norms. Forecaster Wunderground.com predicted continuing rain for New York and that the Tuesday high in of 79 degrees would fall to 75 Wednesday and 61 by Thursday. The normal high in the Big Apple is 70. Chicago's Tuesday high of 75 was expected to drop to 63 Wednesday and 61 on Thursday. The normal high in Chicago is 70. Dallas was something of an exception with Tuesday's high of 90 climbing to 93 Wednesday before easing to 88 Thursday. The normal high in Dallas in late September is 83.

The National Weather Service in New York City said, "A frontal system approaches from the west tonight...then moves slowly through the area Wednesday. The front then becomes nearly stationary just off shore Wednesday night. Unsettled weather is possible late week through the weekend as tropical moisture and a series of storm systems impact the area."

Gas at the Chicago Citygates fell 3 cents to $2.63, and gas at Opal skidded 7 cents to $2.47. Deliveries to PG&E Citygate were quoted 7 cents lower at $3.06, and gas on Transwestern San Juan gave up 6 cents to $2.47.

A Florida utility found bidweek quotes very much to its liking. "We didn't just go into bid week thinking we would do dailies. We definitely did baseload; prices are very low," said a Florida utility buyer. "We do both index and basis deals, and we found Florida Gas Zone 3 quoted at LDS [last day settle] spot and LDS minus a penny. It was really low."

Gas at the Henry Hub changed hands a dime lower at $2.53, and deliveries to Florida Gas Zone 3 shed 7 cents to $2.51. Gas on ANR Southeast was quoted at $2.48, down 5 cents, and parcels at Katy retreated 3 cents to $2.51.

Forecasters Monday adjusted their earlier prognostications to account for new data showing significantly cooler temperatures across much of the country, and that trend continued Tuesday, although uncertainty increased.

"[Tuesday's] six-10 day period forecast is cooler than yesterday's forecast across much of the West," said WSI Corp. in its Tuesday morning report. "Portions of the central and southern U.S. are warmer. PWCDDs are up 0.1 to 12.5. GWHDDs are down 0.9 to 27.4. Forecast confidence is back below average today due to ongoing uncertainty and model spread with the storm system along the East Coast and with a potential cut-off over the West.

"The forecast has room to swing in either direction given the uncertainty and model spread today. The Northeast and interior West have risks to the cooler side. The central U.S. has a slight upside risk."

Analysts saw the market's reaction to Monday's forecasts as somewhat overdone. "Although overnight adjustments to the short-term temperature views aren't showing much change, it would appear that the market overreacted to a brief cold spell that is expected to cover a wide swath of the Midwest next week," said Jim Ritterbusch of Ritterbusch and Associates in a Tuesday morning comments to clients.

"Below-normal temps in early October usually don't equate to significant elevation in HDDs and as a result, the adjusted temperature views aren't forcing much change in storage ideas across next month. Although this week's cool-down will likely take a triple-digit storage injection off the table within next week's EIA report, this Thursday's release will likely post a build slightly above the 100 Bcf mark

"The possibility of a triple-digit increase appears to be keeping the longs on the defensive for now. But at the same time, we still feel that the market has discounted an end-of-season supply of almost 4 Tcf and that additional downside price follow-through from current levels will prove limited."

Tom Saal, vice president at FC Stone Latin America LLC, in his work with Market Profile is looking for the market to test Monday's value area at $2.695 to $2.663 and then test a second value area at $2.632 to $2.612.

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) in its 5 p.m EDT Tuesday report said Tropical Storm Joaquin was 405 miles east of the Bahamas and was moving west-northwest at 5 mph. Maximum sustained winds were estimated at 65 mph, and NHC showed an ultimate northerly direction for Joaquin.

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