Colder weekend temperatures whose forecast appeared to lift prices earlier in the week were actually beginning to arrive Friday, but prices continued to drop across the board by fairly large amounts. A prior-day futures drop of 11.9 cents and record-high storage levels appeared to be the major depressants on the cash market. Of course, the usual weekend decline of industrial demand was another minor bearish factor.

Friday's price decreases ranged from about a nickel to 35 cents or so. Losses were spread fairly evenly across geographic areas.

Futures guidance will remain negative for Monday's cash market after the prompt-month December contract fell by another 12.8 cents Friday (see related story).

Temperatures would be hitting the freezing area or lower over the weekend in parts of New England, the Upper Plains, Rockies and Canada, but much of the U.S. was destined to remain chilly at most, while the southern third of the country was expected to be mild to slightly warm.

Pipeline transport constraints were essentially nonexistent going into the weekend.

New England had been one of the highest-demand areas earlier in the week, but IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) said Algonquin citygate volumes on its platform fell from 226,500 MMBtu Friday to 167,600 MMBtu for the weekend. It also said Texas Eastern M-3 activity dropped from 461,400 MMBtu to 396,100 MMBtu.

However, Henry Hub volumes increased from 447,400 MMBtu in Friday transactions to 600,200 MMBtu for the weekend, ICE said. But Houston Ship Channel trading took a huge drop from 546,800 MMBtu to 265,700 MMBtu, it added. That was likely due to Houston-area highs remaining in the low 80s before being predicted to dip into the 60s over the weekend.

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