A Gulf Coast producer figured it had to be “storm hype”outweighing a sharply lower gas futures screen and causing nearlyall cash markets to soar by a dime or more Monday. Even mild tocool temperatures and the additional negative influence of Novembercrude oil futures plunging by 78 cents to settle below $24/bbl forthe first time in weeks failed to avert substantial upticks forspot gas.
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Cash quotes were mildly softer Monday, with price movementranging from none (flat) to down about a nickel. A July futuresdrop of just over 7 cents was the obvious explanation for cashweakness to many sources. A Houston-based aggregator asserted that”lack of weather” in both the Gulf Coast production area andNortheast market area exacerbated the screen’s negative influence.Forecasts continue to call for hotter temperatures later this week,he said, “but it’s not happening yet.” Even with Monday being theofficial start date for summer, recent high thermometer readings inthe South are only rarely getting above the 80s, he said.
A storage report considered bearish by most traders set thestage for softness in the cash market Thursday, then a plungingfutures screen virtually guaranteed cash declines. Sure enough,nearly every point fell between 5 and 8 cents. “We’re just tradingdown with the screen,” said a Western marketer.
Market participants cited short-covering and relatively strongcash prices as the main reasons for a 7.4-cent gain turned in bythe March Nymex contract Tuesday. The contract flirted around theminor resistance level of $1.81 for most of the day before settlingslightly higher at $1.818.