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Rally Short-Lived as Prices Fall at Nearly All Points

Hot conditions occupying most of the eastern two-thirds of the United States were unable to keep the overall rally that had begun the week from fading Tuesday. Prior-day futures weakness contributed to the bearish mood, and the return of industrial load from its normal weekend decline obviously was ineffective in propping up the cash market.

Flat numbers at ANR ML-7 and Dracut were the exceptions to declines ranging from a couple of pennies to about 15 cents. Markets in the West and Northeast were home to a majority of the downturns that reached double digits.

June futures will give the cash market some support Wednesday after regaining all of the 8.1 cents it had lost Monday and a little more by going up 9.2 cents Tuesday (see related story).

Upper New England and several of the mountainous sections of the West are getting a bit wintry again, with snow falling Tuesday and expected to continue through Wednesday in western higher elevations. And it's beginning to look a lot like summer in the South already as what The Weather Channel called "a large dome of hot air" covers a large portion of the region along with the southern Plains with widespread 90s highs and a few in the lower 100s expected Wednesday.

But cash prices are still finding substantive weather-based demand hard to come by. The Northeast and West Coast are contributing only moderate conditions for the most part, and while the Midwest is almost as warm as the upper reaches of the South, it also is seeing soft pricing.

One source suggested that traders may be remembering last week's bearish storage report and expecting more of the same coming up.

SoCalGas issued a high-linepack OFO for Wednesday (see Transportation Notes), and although Southern California border prices fell about 15 cents, IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) said border volumes on its online platform dropped only marginally from 591,100 MMBtu Monday to 556,000 MMBtu Tuesday.

On the other hand, Tennessee Zone 6's 200 Line serving cool to chilly New England had quotes down a little more than a dime, but its ICE activity rose from 216,300 MMBtu to 256,000 MMBtu.

Northern Natural Gas indicated that a little bit of heating load may be returning to its Upper Midwest market area as it projected average temperatures there of 62 Thursday and 53 Friday, compared to a normal system-weighted temperature of 57 at this time of year.

The flooding crest of the Mississippi River was passing Memphis, TN, Tuesday and causing Southern Natural Gas some concern about its facilities from the onrushing water.

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