Seemingly unable to make up its mind about how substantive recent weather-based demand is, most of the cash market reversed direction for a third straight day Wednesday in chalking up small gains at nearly all points.
Several scattered flat locations were left out of increases that ranged from 2-3 cents to about a dime. Nearly all of the gains were in single digits.
A drop of 30 cents by a thinly traded Florida citygate was something of a market aberration because Florida Gas Transmission (FGT) issued an Overage Alert Day (see Transportation Notes) and the three FGT production-area zones all were up a few pennies.
May futures again saw little change as the contract ended its prompt-month reign by settling down a cent to $4.377 (see related story).
Wednesday's modest firmness occurred despite cooling trends in much of the South that were eroding air conditioning demand from Louisiana and Arkansas eastward. However, hot weather is continuing from Texas through sections of the desert Southwest, with highs in the 80s dominating the Lone Star State's Thursday forecast and Phoenix due to peak in the upper 90s.
The Midwest outlook was mixed, with cities like Des Moines, IA, in the western section predicted to see its high rise from about 53 Wednesday to the mid 60s, while Chicago, Detroit and Cleveland could expect falling temperatures. However, conditions in both the Midwest and Northeast will be getting no colder than chilly at most, with Philadelphia and New York City expected to be on the mild side.
Cool to moderate temperatures are predicted for most of the West, although some parts of Western Canada such as Alberta will still experience overnight lows around freezing.
Kern River reported low linepack Wednesday that was around its minimum target levels.
Pan EurAsian Enterprises analysts noted that the Golden Pass LNG terminal in Sabine Pass, TX, had "a second day of high sendout with over 2 Bcf going out each day. This puts the U.S., for just those two days [Tuesday and Wednesday], as having the largest sendout in the Atlantic Basin." Not expecting this to go on for very long, the analysts said they understood "that the sendout is being driven by technical requirements related to the startup of the facility, not to any sudden demand in the market."
Despite Henry Hub pricing rising a couple of pennies, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) reported hub trading volume on its online platform plunging from 816,300 MMBtu Tuesday to 480,800 MMBtu Wednesday. However, the Chicago citygate was up about a nickel with volume increasing from 766,800 MMBtu to 915,300 MMBtu, ICE said.
Much like the daily spot market, bidweek pricing for May also was rallying -- but generally only by small amounts -- at many locations, ICE said. It recorded Houston Ship Channel quotes rising by less than 2 cents from Tuesday, while the PG&E citygate increased a little more than 2 cents. Sumas was nearly 3 cents above the Tuesday level, ICE said.
Kyle Cooper of IAF Advisors predicted that a 41 Bcf storage injection would be reported for the week ending April 22. Barclays Capital analysts said they expect a build of "roughly" 40 Bcf.
Acknowledging that for a change he was on the low side of storage report estimates, Citi Futures Perspective's Tim Evans projected an injection of 31 Bcf for the week ending April 22, to be followed by growing builds of 68 Bcf, 84 Bcf and 91 Bcf in the weeks ending April 29, May 6 and May 13, respectively.
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