Temperatures mild to cool virtually everywhere, but heating load remains fairly scarce.

For the time being mild to cool fall weather is dominant in most areas, and it showed in prices continuing to fall at most points Monday. The previous Friday's 7.5-cent decline by November futures and the status quo of quiet Atlantic tropical activity added to the cash market's depression.

Several scattered locations that were flat to a little more than a nickel higher defied the overall trend. Most of the market saw losses of 2-3 cents to a little more than 15 cents. Quite a few of the larger drops of a dime or more were concentrated in the Northeast.

The cash market will have further negative screen guidance Tuesday after the prompt-month November futures contract gave up another 7 cents Monday (see related story).

Virtually all of the pipeline warnings against creating positive imbalances over the weekend had been allowed to fade by Monday.

Rainy conditions were forecast to keep the Northeast and much of the West cool Tuesday. The Phoenix area, which had continued to reach highs in the mid 100s last week, was expected to fall barely short of 90 Tuesday. And it's unlikely that many air conditioners are still running in the South; highs there will top out in the mid 70s there as far west as Louisiana and Arkansas, according to Madison, WI-based Weather Central, although Oklahoma and Texas can expect peaks on either side of 80.

Recent Atlantic tropical activity has been busy in the last couple of weeks, but things were fairly quiet again Monday. An elongated area of low pressure over the northeastern Caribbean Sea and Leeward Islands had only a 20% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours, the National Hurricane Center. said. It accorded near-zero odds of significant development to a low-pressure area that was still about 900 miles east of the southern Windward Islands.

Despite prices declining nearly a dime, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) found Columbia Gas activity on its online platform soaring from 835,000 MMBtu for the weekend to 1,051,400 MMBtu in Monday deals for Tuesday flow. And an even greater price dive of more than 15 cents at Transco's Zone 6-New York was somewhat belied by a rise in trading volumes there from 144,800 MMBtu for the weekend to 193,300 MMBtu Monday, ICE said.

On the other hand in the West, the Southern California border took a fairly small price loss of about a nickel, yet its volumes on ICE plummeted from 608,600 MMBtu during the weekend to trading for Tuesday of only 426,100 MMBtu.

It appears that producers are continuing a slow reaction to low prices by reducing drilling, albeit at a slower pace. The numbers of rigs searching for gas in the U.S. fell by another five to 962 in the week ending Oct. 1, according to the Baker Hughes Rotary Rig Count. That was down from a reduction of 15 in the previous week. One unit was added in the Gulf of Mexico last week, Baker Hughes said, but five rigs were deactivated onshore. Its latest tally is 2% less than a month ago but 35% higher than the year-ago level.

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