Price drops at nearly all points Wednesday appeared to be at least partial justification for some traders’ belief that the overall firmness on Tuesday was not justified by weak weather fundamentals and the previous day’s futures decline of 12.8 cents.

A few scattered points were flat to 2-3 cents higher. Otherwise the cash market recorded Wednesday losses ranging from 2-3 cents to nearly C25 cents (NOVA Inventory Transfer), which was likely related to the pipeline warning of a potential imbalance tolerance change due to high linepack.

Temperatures remain hot across the southern third of the U.S., but although some cities in the South and Midcontinent are due to hit the mid 90s Thursday, others will be limited to the mid 80s to around 90 — decidedly subpar for usual norms in early July. And it largely continues to be the “Summer That Wasn’t” (at least so far) in the Northeast and much of the Midwest, where many locations will be limited to the mid 80s or less. Boston is forecast to fall short of a 70-degree high for the third day in a row Thursday.

After a radical midweek warm-up into the mid 90s, peak Rockies temperatures are expected to fall back into the low to mid 80s. Much of the desert Southwest will maintain its renowned summer highs in the mid to upper 100s, but the rest of the West can look for relatively moderate conditions to continue.

The cash market still can’t count on any next-day support from futures. Nymex’s August natural gas contract fell another 7.6 cents Wednesday amid major weakness throughout its energy complex offerings (see related story).

Reports of high storage levels with less than half of the traditional seven-month injection season (April-October) gone continue to surface. Tennessee said that as of July 5 it had an estimated inventory of 78 Bcf, or about 84% of working capacity. The pipeline said it is evaluating the need for these actions: no further Interruptible Storage (IS) injections and no transfers between either Firm Storage (FS) or IS; no Park Agreements with withdrawals in future months; and FS customers will be limited to Maximum Daily Injection Quantity (with no Authorized Overrun volumes.

The market is “very quiet” currently, said a Gulf Coast trader who counted herself among those who had been surprised to see prices rising Tuesday. “It made no sense to me” in light of mild weather-based load and futures softness, she said. Nothing on the horizon suggests higher gas prices againanytime soon, she added, “and there’s no way we’re going to rally” with the extreme weakness in oil prices.

Although it’s had relatively limited effect so far, the increasing lack of storage injection availability means this market is going to be mostly weak for the foreseeable future, the trader said.

A utility buyer in the Lower Midwest said hotter weather was about the only market news in her area. Highs should remain steady on either side of 90 for the rest of this week, which gives her company “a little power generation load” to satisfy, she said.

Unlike quite a few other traders, her utility still has a fair amount of open storage capacity in its accounts, she continued. “We’re comfortable,” having paced its injection schedule out through the fall, but the company has to wonder about the high levels of storage elsewhere, the trader said. However, the outlook for lower prices over time is strong due to high storage levels in other areas, she said.

The National Weather Service (NWS) predicts above-normal temperatures during the July 13-17 workweek everywhere south of a line running west along South Carolina’s northern border to southern Missouri, where it curves slightly northwestward into southern Nebraska and southern Wyoming before turning to the south through northwest Utah, southeast Nevada and the southeastern corner of California. In its six- to 10-day forecast posted Tuesday afternoon, NWS expected below-normal readings throughout the Northeast to as far south as central Virginia and through most of the Midwest to the central Dakotas. It also looks for below-normal temperatures from the northern half of California through most of the Pacific Northwest.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Cameron Horwitz predicted an 80 Bcf storage injection to be reported for the week ending July 3, adding that he expects moderating weather and higher Canadian imports will be “largely responsible” for the extra 10 Bcf above the previous report. Citi Futures Perspective’s Tim Evans anticipates a larger build of 88 Bcf for that week, to be followed by additions of 91 Bcf and 65 Bcf during the weeks ending July 10 and July 17, respectively. Stephen Smith of Stephen Smith Energy Associates is projecting an injection of 79 Bcf for the week ending July 3, which is slightly lower than his previous estimate of 81 Bcf.

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