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Physical NatGas Makes Partial Recovery Following Friday's Flogging; Futures Add 2 Cents

Physical natural gas for Tuesday delivery rose in Monday's trading as the market attempted to take back some of Friday's 21-cent loss. Most points outside the East and Southeast traded within a few points of unchanged, and many eastern points staged double-digit advances as locales hit by a lack of weekend demand recovered from deeply oversold -- and in some cases record low -- readings.

The NGI National Spot Gas Average gained 14 cents to $2.43, but futures gains were much more limited. At the close, November had risen 1.7 cents to $2.923 and December was up 3.8 cents to $3.170. November crude oil gained 57 cents to $48.81/bbl.

Next-day gas across the Mid-Atlantic and Marcellus rose as next-day power prices increased and peak load forecasts held mostly steady. Intercontinental Exchange reported on-peak power at the PJM West terminal rose $3.82 to $36.03/MWh.

Gas on Dominion South rose 49 cents to 78 cents, and deliveries to Tennessee Zn 4 Marcellus were quoted 46 cents higher at 78 cents. Gas on Transco-Leidy Line came in 36 cents higher at 77 cents.

In the Mid-Atlantic, gas on Texas Eastern M-3, Delivery rose 53 cents to 90 cents, and gas destined for New York City on Transco Zone 6 gained 61 cents to $1.02.

Forecast power loads in the Mid-Atlantic changed little. The PJM Interconnection forecast that Monday's peak load of 32,353 MW would ease to 32,276 MW Tuesday and slide to 31,174 MW Wednesday.

New England points also rose. Deliveries on Algonquin Citygate gained 27 cents to $1.70, and gas on Iroquois, Waddington added 22 cents to $1.74. Gas on Tenn Zone 6 200L gained 28 cents to $1.62.

Movement at most market hubs was not quite so bold. Packages at the Chicago Citygate rose 5 cents to $2.72, and deliveries to the Henry Hub were quoted 3 cents lower at $2.81. Gas at Opal changed hands a penny lower at $2.59, and gas priced at the SoCal Border Avg. Average rose 2 cents to $2.70.

Forecasters are calling for increased heating and cooling load in the near term.

Monday’s “six-10 day forecast is generally cooler than Friday's forecast over the eastern half of the nation, but warmer over the western half when compared to Friday's forecast,” said WSI Corp. in its Monday morning six- to 10-day outlook. Continental U.S. population weighted cooling degree days were up 1.1 to 13.1, while gas-weighted heating degree days were up 3.2 to 28.7 for the period.

“Forecast confidence is still on the lower end of the scale again” because of “inherent uncertainty and model spread, with [Hurricane] Matthew and its influence on the whole pattern,” WSI said.

"The forecast is weighted closer” to the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts model, “so the Global Forecast System guidance offers a much cooler risk across the eastern half of the nation."

Low quotes in the Mid-Atlantic and Marcellus may be history if the winter outlook from AccuWeather.com is correct.

"It will feel like an extended winter for those living from the northern Plains to the eastern U.S., as cold and snowy conditions stretch into spring 2017," said AccuWeather.com's Jillian MacMath. "Meanwhile, drier and milder weather will focus on the majority of the southern half of the nation. The Southeast may mark the exception as a chilly January threatens to damage the region's citrus crop, [and] frequent storms across the northeastern U.S. this winter may lead to an above-normal season for snowfall.”

With the recent futures declines, the technical framework is starting to unravel.

The market is "starting to see a deterioration in the technical picture," said United ICAP’s Brian LaRose, market technician, in a Monday morning report. "However, bears have not forced natgas beneath levels we consider to be key support. So the best we can label the price action is constructive.

"To confirm natgas is headed south from here, a decisive close below $2.882-2.830 will be required. As long as the bulls can prevent that from happening, a re-establishment of the up trend should not be dismissed."

In its 5 p.m. EDT Monday report, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Hurricane Matthew was 140 miles south of Tiburon, Haiti and heading to the north at 7 mph. Maximum sustained winds were at 140 mph and NHC projected a course to the Bahamas and Carolinas. The government of the Bahamas has issued a hurricane warning for the Bahamas.

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