With weather, futures, the weekend factor and lack of tropical threat appearing mostly bearish, it wasn’t quite clear how a substantive portion of the cash market managed to achieve small rebounds Friday. But flat to moderately higher numbers showed up at a majority of points, primarily in the Midcontinent/Midwest, Gulf Coast and Rockies.
A little more than half of the market was flat to about a nickel higher. Most of the losses ranging from 2-3 cents to about a dime occurred in the Northeast and Midwest.
It appeared that October futures might give Monday’s cash trading a wee boost by being up 1-2 cents or so Friday morning, but the contract eventually wound up slightly in the red with a minuscule loss of 0.4 cent (see related story).
“How low can you go?” seemed to be the name of the game last week for Tennessee Zone 4’s Marcellus-deluged Line 300. After bottoming out at a dollar Thursday, the line shaved another dime off its low-end quotes Friday in sinking as far as 90 cents.
Tropical Storm Ophelia was weakening Friday while still about 635 miles east-southeast of the Leeward Islands and moving westward at midday. The perception was that Ophelia almost certainly would largely emulate Hurricane Maria’s course and stay far from the East Coast. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) projected a more north-northwesterly course as the system passed to the north of the Leeward Islands and Puerto Rico.
NHC’s website map was monitoring a new low-pressure system about 400 miles south-southeast of the Cape Verde Islands off West Africa, which the agency assessed as having only a 10% chance (upgraded to 30% late Friday afternoon) of becoming a tropical cyclone within the succeeding 48 hours.
Except for the Midwest and much of the West growing a bit chillier, the weather status quo of heat in Florida and Texas through the desert Southwest combined with moderate to cool conditions almost everywhere else continued to prevail.
After being slightly below minimum target levels for a couple of days, Kern River linepack returned to the lower end of the desired range Friday. And Westcoast said its linepack was returning to “healthy” conditions Friday after being excessively high during the first three days of last week.
A Texas-based marketer said he had to admit that Friday’s general, although slighter, firmness was kind of surprising. Still, he added, it was getting a little warmer again in the South between Florida and Texas, with some locations approaching highs around 90 during the weekend. He also perceived minor support in late cash trading from futures being up 1-2 cents in the morning before going a little into the red that afternoon.
The marketer also suspected some heating load from it being chilly in the Midwest, with some lows in the 40s expected during the weekend. That demand likely carried over into the Midcontinent supply area, he said.
A Rockies producer said it didn’t seem like such a soft market in his area with the CIG deficit to Henry Hub relatively narrow at around 18 cents Friday. He wasn’t surprised to see softness in Western Canada quotes Friday after they had been among the rare gainers Thursday, saying record heat for this time of year was due over the weekend in western and central Canada.
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