Prices didn't have much to work with as far as imminent heating load Monday, but traders may have been looking down the road a ways at the colder weather that is expected to be prevalent going into the weekend. The cash market also had prior-trading-day screen support Monday from the 8.1-cent rise by December futures Friday, and it will have even more Tuesday after the prompt-month contract advanced by another 15.1 cents (see related story).
The restoration of industrial load from its typical weekend decline also provided a small price boost.
A few scattered points racked up losses of a couple of pennies to about a nickel. A large majority of the market was flat to a little more than 40 cents higher. Most of those points were either unchanged or up less than a dime, but double-digit gains tended to be concentrated at Northeast, California, Pacific Northwest and Western Canada locations.
The National Weather Service's (NWS) six- to 10-day forecast posted Sunday afternoon indicates that nearly all of the U.S. can expect to be feeling below-normal temperatures by this weekend. NWS foresees normal conditions only along the central California coast and in the Northeast along with the coastal Mid-Atlantic (above-normal readings are predicted for most of Maine).
For now there's already a fair amount of heating load in place in sections of the Northeast. AccuWeather.com reported that the first snow of the season greeted people across southern New England Monday morning with a coating of up to several inches blanketing areas from Connecticut into Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
The Algonquin citygate, which recorded the day's largest gain of nearly 35 cents, had trading volumes on IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) essentially double from 80,700 MMBtu over the weekend to 160,500 MMBtu for Tuesday flows.
Meanwhile the SoCal citygate, where two high-linepack OFOs sprang up for Saturday and Sunday on short notice (see Transportation Notes) and quotes were up by only about 15 cents, saw a much bigger ICE gain by volume, going from weekend trading of 240,600 MMBtu to 594,000 MMBtu for Tuesday.
Snow was also showing up in several of the higher-elevation areas of the West and some Rockies and Western Canada cities had lows slightly below freezing in their immediate forecasts, but the supply of significant heating demand falls off fairly sharply after that. Although they can anticipate some chillier conditions around Friday or Saturday, many market areas are still basking in rather pleasant crisp autumn weather for now.
Hurricane Tomas disappeared from the Atlantic scene during the weekend and no new tropical activity had shown up to replace it as of Monday afternoon. Citi Futures Perspective analyst Tim Evans mentioned the possibility that with the traditional Nov. 30 end of the Atlantic season nearing, Tomas may turn out to be the year's last named storm.
The Weather 2000 consulting firm noted that 2010 failed to produce a U.S. tropical storm landfall with winds of more than 40 mph -- "a scenario (if it stands) not witnessed since 1993."
The CIG-Henry Hub basis spread dwindled to one of its lowest levels of the year at slightly less than a quarter Monday.
El Paso reported continuing a "high" probability of declaring a Strained Operating Condition or Critical Operating Condition due to excess linepack. El Paso numbers in the Southwest production basins generally managed only modest gains.
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