Hot weather forecasts were responsible for keeping prices on the rise at nearly all points Monday in the Midcontinent and West. But heavy rains and/or cold fronts trimmed back some of the cooling load that had started building late last week in the East’s northern market areas and already pervaded the South. The result was substantive price drops at virtually all non-Midcontinent points in the East.

Friday’s screen dip of 2.2 cents was relatively inconsequential for Monday’s cash trading. But a further Nymex decline of 29.2 cents Monday, combined with a continuation of moderate power generation demand load in the East, likely will keep bearish pressure on the cash market Tuesday.

Drops in the Gulf Coast, Midwest and Northeast ranged from a little less than a dime to about 80 cents. A few flat to slightly lower points averted across the board gains in the Midcontinent and West; otherwise, quotes rose between a little less than a nickel to nearly a quarter.

Only one day after ending an Overage Alert Day that had been declared due to low linepack and heavy market-area demand, Florida Gas Transmission alerted shippers Monday that the supply equation had shifted radically enough that it might become necessary to issue an Underage Alert Day Tuesday to combat excess linepack (see Transportation Notes). The new lack of demand was reflected in the market as Florida Gas Zone 3 and the Florida citygate both recorded the day’s biggest declines by far.

Despite the eastern softness Monday, daily prices still commanded hefty premiums to first-of-month indexes at all points. All were at least 45 cents or so above index, and many in the West and Midcontinent had dollar-plus premiums.

A cold front in the Midwest and rain in much of the Northeast will return market-area temperatures to more seasonable levels Tuesday. Chicago, which had seen highs in the vicinity of 90 degrees over the weekend, was down closer to 80 Monday but was expected to be slightly warmer Tuesday. Boston was predicted to peak around 90 degrees Monday but will be a considerably more temperate 80 or so Tuesday.

Scorching temperatures will persist in the western end of the South, but will be limited to the low 90s at the region’s eastern end. Most of the interior West will remain quite hot, but the Northwest and northern Rockies will be cool with peaks in the 90s, The Weather Channel said.

Northwest provided another example of how rapidly storage is filling up this year. As of Saturday its Jackson Prairie facility had inventory of 19,224,247 dekatherms out of total capacity of 22,381,464 dekatherms, the pipeline said. Northwest’s own Jackson Prairie capacity is almost used up; it had 6,978,282 dekatherms stashed away, not far below its account volume of 7,175,525 dekatherms.

A couple of marketers agreed that although there was a fair amount of volatility in Monday’s market, trading was pretty quiet in general. The Northeast is cooling back down, said one based in Houston, and the drop in weather-related demand obviously showed up in falling prices. He noted that futures weakness Monday should be followed by further cash softness Tuesday.

The West held up better in relative price value due to hot weather in most of the region, a Rockies-based marketer said. He also felt that storage buying, at least by those who still have injection space, was supporting prices for now.

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