The October aftermarket got going on a moderately bearish note Wednesday, but in nearly all cases the losses were quite a bit smaller than Tuesday’s September-ending quotes, which saw double-digit declines at all points. A bit of extra chill and the previous day’s gain of 4.5 cents in the first prompt-month trading by November futures may have helped spur increases at several points, mostly in the West, but weak weather fundamentals continued to deny increases in most of the East.

A majority of locations fell between 2-3 cents and a little more than 40 cents; most drops were around 12 cents or less. The rest of the market was flat to nearly 20 cents higher.

After getting a small amount of screen support in Wednesday’s deals, the cash market will have modestly negative guidance again Thursday after November futures fell 3.4 cents (see related story).

Tuesday’s screen close at $4.875 was nearly $1.60 above the day’s Henry Hub average of $3.30, and there was little change in that relationship after both fell about a nickel or slightly less Wednesday. Analysts think such a big gap will put downward pressure on the prompt-month futures contract since it’s unlikely that cash gas will be able to go much in its direction.

Although PG&E extended a high-inventory OFO through Thursday (albeit with a looser imbalance tolerance), Malin and the PG&E citygate achieved gains of about a dime or slightly higher.

Besides overnight lows starting to reach the freezing area or lower in the Rockies, regional pricing got an extra boost from Thursday’s end of a two-day outage of the Opal Plant’s Turbo Exchanger Plant 5, which restored an extra 350 MMcf/d of processing capacity.

The South was forecast to see a return of slightly warmer temperatures Thursday in some sections but would stay moderate overall with few locations exceeding 80 degrees. Interior California also is warming again into the low to mid 80s, which isn’t especially significant for gas demand. Meanwhile, the desert Southwest is getting “relatively” balmy with Phoenix expected to peak at only around 90.

The outlook remains largely unchanged in other areas: Alberta can expect lows around freezing, but the northern half of the U.S. and Eastern Canada are due to continue seeing conditions ranging from mild to somewhat cold (not cold enough for substantive heating load, though).

A Midwest marketer reported that his area is experiencing chilly nights (as low as 39 Tuesday, he said), but not quite cold enough for the activation of many furnaces. Area homes still have some residual warmth from a few days earlier, he said, and that takes a while to escape if doors and windows aren’t left open.

He said cash gas was seeing a little bit of volatility to start the month. In light of mostly moderate weather forecasts and the small screen decline, he expects cash softness to continue Thursday. What may keep prices from crashing during October due to the storage situation is the feeling that overall weather is about to get colder and demand will be picking up, “so nobody wants to get caught short,” the marketer added.

Citi Futures Perspective analyst Tim Evans projects a 60 Bcf storage injection for the week ending Sept. 6, to be followed by builds of 50 Bcf each in the weeks ending Oct. 2 and Oct. 9. SunTrust Robinson Humphrey’s Cameron Horwitz also anticipates a 60 Bcf addition in Thursday’s report, saying the “lower sequential injection is largely attributable to slightly lower LNG [liquefied natural gas] imports w/w [week-on-week] and slightly higher gas-fired power generation demand.”

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