The price rally that had begun Monday didn't reverse entirely but appeared to be losing some steam Wednesday. More than a few points were able to extend previous gains by small amounts, but even more were faltering due to declining heating load in some areas and the previous day's downturn of 6.3 cents by April futures.
Expectations of a subpar storage report in relation to past comparisons being reported Thursday may have also been a slightly negative psychological factor for cash traders.
Only several Northeast locations saw any changes exceeding single digits as they led losses of 2-3 cents to nearly 35 cents. Outside the Northeast a sizeable majority of movement in either directions was less than a nickel.
Following Tuesday's drop, prompt-month futures rebounded a bit to a gain of 6.6 cents Wednesday (see related story).
As if to underscore AccuWeather.com's report Wednesday that spring has not sprung yet for people from the Plains into the East, The Weather Channel said some snow in the Midwest and lower Northeast will be mixed into stormy conditions in those regions and much of the South Thursday. While snow is unlikely in the South, according to The Weather Channel (TWC), it will see temperatures dropping substantially and leaving lows close to freezing at several locations.
However, most of the West remains in a warming trend that will see Denver's high jump about 10 degrees to just above 60 Thursday before cooler conditions return, mostly along the Pacific Coast.
The AccuWeather.com report said a stormy weather pattern yielding everything from heavy snow to flooding rain, tornadoes and wildfires is likely to remain active across the northern U.S. and to some extent in the South through "at least early April."
Pipeline customers are being reminded that the transition to Daylight Savings Time will occur at 2 a.m. local time Sunday, so they should adjust nominations to fit a 23-hour Saturday gas day.
With mild to cool temperatures prevailing in most of Texas, Katy prices fell 4 cents on the IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) platform, and ICE volumes slipped from 846,100 MMBtu Tuesday to 620,300 MMBtu Wednesday. However, at the nearby Houston Ship Channel quotes were down by a little more than 6 cents, ICE said, but volumes rose from 323,700 MMBtu to 460,000 MMBtu.
The Northeast is in a warm-up period and prices are tending to fall the farthest there. ICE reported that trading volumes were down Wednesday -- as one might expect -- at the Algonquin citygate from 312,000 MMBtu to 226,600 MMBtu. However, ICE activity rose at two other New England points, Tennessee Zone 6 and Iroquois Zone 2 (from 106,600 MMBtu to 127,300 MMBtu and from 137,600 MMBtu to 175,000 MMBtu, respectively).
An Upper Midwest marketer reported that there was "a little bit of snow" in her area Wednesday, which wasn't too bad, but it would take until next week for the weather to get significantly warmer, and even then highs were unlikely to go much above the 40s.
She said her company had recently signed up to participate in the Gas Choice program of Consumers Energy, which allows residents and commercial interests to buy gas through third parties instead of directly from the utility. There was good response to a local newspaper ad that the marketing firm had run to tout the new service, she said.
Credit Suisse analysts Hugh Li and Stefan Revielle estimate a 77 Bcf storage withdrawal for the week ending March 4. This would compare to a year-ago volume of 112 Bcf and a five-year average of 103 Bcf.
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