Except for declines at several of the highest-priced westernpoints, the cash market stayed in an upbeat mood Friday. Gainsranged from about a dime to more than 30 cents, with most between20 and 30 cents. Malin joined the three primary Pacific Northwestpoints (Sumas, Stanfield and Kingsgate) in falling from their loftyheights.
Articles from Aftermarket
It sure didn’t take long for the August aftermarket to jump wellabove indexes, one market observer said. Boosted by screen strengthand the anticipation of closer to normal summer weather eventuallyinvading key northern market areas, all points except Malinregistered double-digit gains Wednesday.
The early May aftermarket is shaping up as typical of itspredecessors in the new millennium: showing remarkable strengthdespite a general lack of fundamental support. Only in the West,where a combination of hot weather and nuclear outages sent powerprices spiking, did sources see anything besides a sharp rise onthe futures screen to account for Monday’s cash upticks.
What had seemed like a mildly softer early aftermarket in swingdeals done Tuesday got much weaker Wednesday. Influenced greatly bya falling screen but also by a continuing lack of positivefundamentals, nearly all points were down a dime or more. NorthernCalifornia was a rare bastion of relative market strength in theU.S. Malin and the PG&E citygate dropped only about a nickel asPG&E repeated last week’s unusual action of issuing alow-inventory OFO on a summer weekday.
The cash market continued Tuesday to show the same signs ofaftermarket strength-and even more in some cases-that it did lastFriday in swing deals done for June 1 only. Many of the Gulf Coastpipes were trading about a dime above indexes, and most otherpoints were at least a nickel above indexes. However, some tradersdidn’t expect the higher prices to last, noting late softness insome markets such as Chicago.
The hemorrhaging of prices that marked the first two days oftrading in the December aftermarket came to a virtual standstillWednesday even as unseasonably warm weather continued in much ofthe nation east of the Rockies. Except for an increase of more thana dime into Northwest at Sumas, all points were either flat or upor down only a few pennies. The reason for the surge at Sumas andwhy it was handily outstripping Rockies prices was that distributorBC Gas in southern British Columbia was drawing more heavily thanusual on discretionary supplies, one source said.
The upward track of cash prices continued Wednesday, but at asnail’s pace compared to Tuesday’s skyrocketing pyrotechnics. Mostof the new increases were quite meager, ranging from a penny or soto about a nickel. The first significant winter weather that manyareas have seen so far this season was credited with keeping theNovember price rally going, albeit modestly.
The bullish sentiment for the aftermarket that several tradershad expressed Tuesday (see Daily GPI, July 1) appeared to bejustified Wednesday as price increases of a dime or more dominatedmost points. The old refrain of “following the screen” was popularagain. But as the screen leads up, so shall it also lead back down,according to some prophecies, and so it was Wednesday. Early pricelevels were retreating late as Henry Hub futures gave up earlygains. Henry Hub cash started at $2.48-49 but fell as low as $2.40late, a marketer said.