The price slide that had started Thursday tended to get steeper in Friday’s trading for the weekend. There were a few single-digit declines mixed into the across-the-board softness, but plenty of points fell 20 cents or more amid the majority of dips ranging from a dime to nearly 30 cents.

Temperatures were either warming or predicted to do so in the South, Midcontinent, Northeast and parts of the West. However, those demand-increasing factors were outweighed by a cold front moving into the Midwest, futures weakness Thursday and Friday, the next-day impact of Thursday’s bearish storage report and lack of a hurricane threat as of Friday.

Hurricane Frances strengthened into a Category Three storm Friday with maximum sustained winds near 115 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center. Frances was still too far out in the Atlantic to have any implications for gas prices. As of 5 p.m. AST it was about 800 miles east of the Leeward Islands and moving toward the northwest at nearly 12 mph, the NHC said.

“The weather’s going to be hotter in the Northeast this weekend, so we saw a little increase in power generation load,” said a regional marketer. However, that wasn’t enough to keep prices from softening, he added, ascribing the cash fall primarily to continuing screen weakness.

A couple of pipes in the South declared OFOs or similar notices. Sonat expected a Type 6 OFO against long imbalances, declared for Saturday, to continue through at least Sunday and Monday. A Florida utility buyer, however, was puzzled by Florida Gas Transmission’s Overage Alert Day notice Friday, saying loads hadn’t gone up “that much.”

An East Coast utility buyer said she didn’t expect to buy any September baseload gas, and would go with the day-to-day market instead. That’s been a good strategy for buyers in the last two months, she noted, “but who knows?” The third time may not be the charm in this case, the buyer acknowledged, “but it looks like first-of-month indexes are going so low that we’re going to benefit from lower prices either way.”

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