Forecasts of peak temperatures remained on either side of 90 in the South, Northeast and Midwest, and they were even destined to reach the mid to upper 90s Tuesday in the Rockies. Cash traders shrugged their shoulders, however, and instead noted the previous Friday's 6.3-cent drop by August futures and the weekend fade of any tropical storm threat to Gulf of Mexico output in sending prices slightly lower at most locations Monday.

Most of the declines were small in ranging from 2-3 cents to about 15 cents. The return of industrial load from its normal weekend hiatus helped keep quite a few locations at flat to about a quarter higher levels. The unusually hot Rockies tended to have most of the larger upticks.

An Overage Alert Day by Florida Gas Transmission was nearing three weeks of existence and was largely responsible for propelling the Florida citygate to the day's biggest increase.

Tuesday's cash market will have a minute amount of screen support after Nymex's August natural gas futures contract rallied by 3.2 cents at the start of its three-day countdown to expiration (see related story).

Former Tropical Storm Bonnie disappeared during the weekend with minimal disruption to Gulf of Mexico production, and the National Hurricane Center had no new Atlantic tropical activity to report Monday.

Highs in the South had been approaching 100 in several areas at the end of last week, but a significant cooldown had set in as few cities were expected to get above 90 or so Tuesday. Similar conditions were in the forecast for the Northeast and Midwest. Cold fronts will continue to depress hot weather in the South, south-central U.S. and upper West at midweek, The Weather Channel said.

IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) found Columbia Gas trading volumes shrinking from 775,200 MMBtu during the weekend to 609,800 MMBtu for Tuesday. Columbia Gas prices fell nearly a nickel Monday, ICE said.

An Upper Midwest market said her company didn't buy any new spot gas for clients Monday because high temperatures staying in the 80s limited their cooling demand. The company is paying last-day futures settlement basis of plus 13 cents and plus 17 cents for August baseload deliveries at Consumers Energy and MichCon, respectively, she said. The reason for the MichCon premium, which had traded at a discount to Consumers in previous years, was still unclear, she said.

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