The cash market managed to scrape together enough cooling demand to record gains at virtually all points Monday, even with the negative guidance of the previous Friday’s 9-cent decline by September futures. The return of industrial load from its weekend decline provided a little additional support.
Only a flat Houston Ship Channel (even with highs from the mid 90s through the low 100s predicted for most of Texas Tuesday) was left out of increases ranging from about a nickel to about 55 cents. Nearly all of the gains were in double digits and were spread fairly evenly across geographic market areas.
Despite Florida Gas Transmission ending an Overage Alert Day Saturday, the Florida citygate spike represented Monday’s top uptick.
The cash market achieved its advance without any help from Friday futures, but it will have ample support Tuesday after Nymex’s September contract soared 37.8 cents Monday based primarily on strength in crude oil futures and generally upbeat economic news (see related story).
Other than a return to highs in the mid to upper 80s in the Northeast following a brief Sunday cooldown, it was difficult to discern the source of much of the new buying demand. Temperature forecasts in the South were no more than average at best in peaking in the low 90s, and Midwestern highs were expected to range from the mid 70s to the mid 80s for the most part.
The Rockies topping out on either side of 90 Friday may have contributed a smidgen of air conditioning load to the desert Southwest’s usual 100s, but interior California was due to retreat into the mid 80s or so Tuesday, according to Weather Central. And after record-setting heat early last week, the Pacific Northeast is still warmer than normal but has retreated to the 80s.
It’s unlikely that it created much heating load, but Canada may be keeping more gas at home early this week with Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta not expected to top the 60 area Tuesday and Eastern Canada highs predicted in only the low to mid 70s.
Usually it’s prior-day futures action that gives most guidance to the current-day cash market, a Texas-based marketer noted, but because the screen run-up occurred so early Monday it provided more same-day support than before. In addition, there is down-the-road heat building by the end of the week in the East, particularly in the major gas-burning sections of the South, he said.
It was pretty quiet Monday with the new month beginning, the marketer said. “A lot of us” were involved in meetings and catching up on paperwork, he added.
A western trader saw Monday’s price firmness as largely a product of start-of-month psychology, when many people begin buying long, largely regardless of other circumstances but in some cases because they entered the month short.
He also saw the western price gains as partly due to forecasts of eastern heat coming up because much of his region is only moderately warm. Interior California has cooled a bit into the mid 80s, he noted.
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