It's an old saying: What goes up must come down. That was true in spades in the cash gas market Thursday as sharply rising prices over the previous two days suddenly reversed into major plunges at virtually all points. The below-normal temperatures expected by the weekend in most of North America, which had apparently been instrumental in driving the market higher during the first half of the week, lost their bullish influence after a four-day string of futures increases ended Wednesday with a dive of 16.4 cents.
Only three points were flat to less than a dime lower amid overall losses ranging from a little less than a nickel to a little more than 80 cents.
The cash market will again have negative screen guidance Friday after the prompt-month futures contract fell another 11.9 cents Thursday (see related story).
Although lower temperatures accompanied by occasional snow are moving eastward from the Rockies, most of the eastern U.S. will remain moderate to cool through at least Friday. Canada, the Pacific Northwest/Rockies and Upper Plains are where most of Friday's heating load will reside.
The National Hurricane Center had no Atlantic tropical activity of any significance to report Thursday.
A Midcontinent producer said an Enogex line outage limiting exports from his area to the Southeast is supposed to be fixed by Tuesday, but things are so constrained for right now that even industrial end-users are having to sell excess gas into the market.
The producer said prices started weaker Thursday but were tending to rise in later trading. He had no idea why the spot market was so strong earlier in the week, but said things still look bearish for weekend prices.
A Southern utility buyer said he was surprised that November futures closed out as weak as they did Thursday, but he figured that it was a case of the market "correcting" itself.
Although IntercontinentalExchange found Chicago citygate prices slipping by slightly more than 20 cents, Chicago trading volumes on its online system rose from 777,800 MMBtu Wednesday to 876,200 MMBtu Thursday.
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