Prices stayed on an uphill path in most cases Wednesday, but the rate of increase was appreciably lower than the large gains during the first two days of the week and included several losses. Along with the previous day’s loss of 8.4 cents by December futures, cash gas appeared to be starting to acknowledge the moderating weather forecasts for the latter half of this week.

Several points, mostly in the West and Midcontinent, were down from a little less than a nickel to a little less than 30 cents. They were left out of the continuing overall bullishness in which most prices rose between a dime and nearly 55 cents.

In light of moderating weather forecasts in several areas and Wednesday’s 27.6-cent plunge by December futures (see related story), it’s unlikely that the cash market will be able to sustain its strength through the first three days of the week again Thursday.

A high-inventory OFO by PG&E resulted in losses of nearly a dime and a little less than a nickel at Malin and the PG&E citygate, respectively.

Colder temperatures were concentrated in the Midwest/Tennessee Valley and Rockies through the Pacific Northwest as of mid-afternoon Wednesday, according to The Weather Channel. But little-changed or slightly warmer moderate conditions were expected for Thursday in most of the United States and Canada.

It’s cold overnight but in the mid 40s at mid-afternoon in the western Midwest, which is relatively comfortable for this time of year, said a utility buyer. Local residents are wearing jackets “but not heavy gear like parkas” yet, he said. His company still has a couple of agricultural grain drying operations in its load due to rain delays, he said, but they’re almost finished.

The current cold blast is about to end, the buyer said, with temperatures warming to almost 60 by Friday and due to continue through the weekend. With storage “as full as it is,” he found it hard to understand how prices increased as much as they did in the first three days of the week. However, he expected quotes to soften Thursday due to the big futures loss Wednesday and forecasts of warmer weekend weather.

Even with lows in the 20s, that’s “normal for this time of year,” said a Rockies producer. He expressed no surprise at the big early-week price gains, noting that analysts say utilities burning gas at less than $4/Mcf is more economic than burning coal. He also noted that there is still a little bit of storage injection space open in the Rockies, with Questar’s Clay Basin facility down to 96% capacity after being as high as 98% at the end of last month.

In its six- to 10-day forecast posted Tuesday afternoon, the National Weather Service called for below-normal temperatures during the Nov. 23-27 period (which includes a Thursday-Friday holiday period for many people) in the south-central U.S. from the Florida Panhandle and western half of Georgia into northern Missouri and most of Kansas and through eastern New Mexico. The agency predicted above-normal readings from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula into nearly all of the Northeast, and also everywhere west of a line running northeastward from the southeastern end of California to northwestern North Dakota.

SunTrust Robinson Humphrey analyst Cameron Horwitz expects a 22 Bcf storage injection to be reported for the week ending Nov. 13. Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective predicted an addition of 20 Bcf for that week, followed by a build of 5 Bcf for the week ending Nov. 20 and the beginning of withdrawals with a 20 Bcf reduction of total inventory in the week ending Nov. 27.

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