Cash market points were lower across the country Wednesday as the eastern heat wave of the last few days waned and traders digested two consecutive down days of futures values.
The fall in cash market values was led by a few Rocky Mountain and Northeastern points, which were down by as much as a half dollar. The Henry Hub’s average dropped by more than 20 cents. Temperatures all along the East Coast, which had been in the 90s and just above 100 over the last four days, were backing off on Wednesday, with many regions expected to see highs in the 80s on Thursday.
“After days of unrelenting heat, the Northeast is getting a much-needed break,” said Eric Reese, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.com. “Through Thursday conditions will feel quite comfortable outdoors with lower temperatures and much less humidity. This comes on the heels of four straight days in the 90s for most places, including the major cities of the I-95 corridor. Too bad the pleasant stuff won’t last. Residents of the Northeast can expect the humidity to creep back up again Friday and Saturday.”
The cash market’s bearish help from the natural gas futures market on Monday and Tuesday came to an abrupt end on Wednesday as the July contract rebounded 22.5 cents to close at $12.660. July crude also staged a dramatic surge Wednesday by gaining $5.07 to finish at $136.38/bbl.
“The natural gas market has rebounded sharply [on Wednesday], assisted by the gains on the petroleum side,” said Tim Evans, an analyst with Citi Futures Perspective in New York. “We see a similar speculative froth coming into the natural gas market as it seems to have become divorced from its own day-to-day fundamentals. Hot temperatures in the eastern U.S. have moderated and the forecast is for near five-year average temperatures going forward, but the buying spree in the futures market has resumed nonetheless.”
Looking at the near-term weather, temperatures are expected to average near normal for this time of year in most regions of the United States. The Frontier Weather six- to 10-day outlook for June 16-20 calls for above-normal temperatures from the Mexican border as far north as Wyoming. Below-normal temps are expected along the coast of the Pacific Northwest and normal conditions are anticipated elsewhere. In the 11- to 15-day forecast covering June 21-25, temperatures are expected to average warmer than normal for most of the continental United States west of the Mississippi River, normal to the east and in northern California.
Looking ahead to the Energy Information Administration’s Thursday morning natural gas storage report for the week ended June 6, Evans said he is expecting a 110 Bcf injection, which would be larger than both last year’s date-adjusted 97 Bcf build and the five-year average injection of 98 Bcf.
A Reuters survey of 20 industry players produced a range of injection expectations from 83 Bcf to 110 Bcf with an average expectation of a 94 Bcf build. Golden, CO-based Bentek Energy said its flow model indicated an injection of 87 Bcf, bringing stocks 20.9% below the five-year high and 0.6% below the five-year average, Bentek’s estimate predicts a 47 Bcf injection in the East region, a 24 Bcf injection in the Producing region and a 16 Bcf injection in the West region. According to the research and analysis firm, storage fill nationwide increased 2.4% from 48.5% to 50.9% last week.
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