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Cash Decline Resumes on Mild Weather, 'No Demand'

After enjoying a one-day national rebound in natural gas cash averages on Thursday, values were tugged lower on Friday as traders were unable to ignore Thursday's futures plunge.

Most values in the East dropped by between a dime and 14 cents, while a number of Gulf Coast averages saw drops of 15 cents or more. The Henry Hub finished the week down more than 33 cents from last Friday's average.

Delivery points in the Midcontinent saw a handful of declines of 20 cents or more, a trend that was also evident in the Rockies and the West, according to IntercontinentalExchange data.

Those hoping for another rebound in cash prices on Monday could be in for a disappointment after July natural gas futures on Friday continued to push lower toward $4. The prompt-month contract declined by 8.7 cents on the day to close the regular session at $4.325. For the week, the contract shaved 43.2 cents, or 10%, of its value off of its price.

Market watchers are interested to see whether the declines will be able to continue into the new week, especially since forecasters are calling for the return of heat waves in the East and the Midwest in the near term. While some meteorologists are expecting a new eastern heat wave to stick around for a while, MDA Earthsat sees much of the eastern half of the United States suffering under above-normal readings only until Tuesday, at which point the warmer-than-normal temperatures will ease and retreat to an area that runs from southern New Mexico through Georgia, then up to Massachusetts.

"Cash prices were pretty weak all week, including on Friday. There is no demand because there has been really no heat or weather to drive things. This is why we are seeing 15-20 cent basis," said a Northeast gas marketer. "Futures are not being any help either as values have really fallen off since last week as well."

While noting that a warm-up was expected for the Northeast that could bring temperatures in the high 70s to low 80s, the trader said it wouldn't be enough to boost prices. "I don't see anything in the near future that would push cash prices to a 40-50 cent basis. There isn't anything bullish out there right now."

The Atlantic still remains quiet on the storm front, for the most part.

AccuWeather.com reported Friday a broad ridge of high pressure at the surface continues to extend from the central Atlantic to the Gulf of Mexico, which combined with harsh shearing winds higher up in the atmosphere "will prevent tropical development over the Gulf, Caribbean and western Atlantic" at least through the weekend.

However, AccuWeather.com's Dan Kottlowski said he is keeping an eye on a remote situation for later in the week. "Some of our forecast tools continue to point toward an area of disturbed weather in the Bay of Campeche later [this] week," Kottlowski said. "However, only a few of our tools are on board with this idea, and odds seem to be against much, if any, development."

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