Many near-flat numbers were involved in a market that was mildly higher in much of the East but decidedly softer in the West Wednesday. Hot weather will remain through Thursday in much of the southern half of the U.S., but cool to mild temperatures will continue to prevail in much of North America.

Most numbers were flat to about a nickel higher in the East, while western losses tended to range from a little less than a dime to about 15 cents.

Quotes at the PG&E citygate fell nearly a dime despite the utility ending a high-inventory OFO.

A Southern utility buyer said his company liked the currently hot weather because of its air conditioning load. However, he said a 10% cut on backhaul firm transportation by Panhandle Eastern was hurting the company a bit on its storage refills, “but we’re already ahead [on refills], so it’s not so bad.” The storage deliveries via Panhandle are prepaid, he said, so they can’t be replaced very easily, but the utility can handle the interruption unless it extends for a very long time.

The buyer said he wasn’t sure why summer basis relative to Nymex futures (from July through October) on Panhandle had gotten a lot weaker in the last couple of days.

A Midcontinent producer said he expected cash prices to go down a little Thursday due to the futures weakness Wednesday; also, cash prices were tending to soften in late trading Wednesday, he said. He was also dubious about continuing futures price strength. There’s still fairly large cooling load in the Midcontinent, he said, but it’s not enough to sustain higher prices further.

Showers and thunderstorms had increased in association with a low-pressure system as it got to within about 725 miles east of the Lesser Antilles island chain, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Wednesday afternoon. However, strong westerly winds at upper levels were not favorable for it reaching tropical storm status, the agency said. NHC attributed only about a 10% chance of the system becoming a named storm in the succeeding 48 hours as it continued on a generally west-northwestward track at nearly 15 mph.

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