The price tug of war continued yesterday in the natural gas pitat Nymex, but in contrast to the previous seven sessions, bearswere victorious Wednesday as commercial sellers were too much forlocal buyers. After it was apparent the highs for the day had beenset, locals quickly changed their colors and were seen adding tothe selling pressure in a round of afternoon profit-taking. TheSeptember contract slid sharply at the close, settling down 4.4cents at $2.704.
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Except for small upticks in San Juan Basin and related pointspartially due to an unexpected compressor station outage (seeTransportation Notes), the cash market again was mildly softerMonday. Much like last week, a screen decline of about a nickelprovided about the only influence meaningful to cash traders. Evensome cool weather returning to the Midwest failed to keep Chicagoand Michigan citygates from dropping 2-3 cents, while Midcontinentfield numbers were mostly flat.
While eastern markets meandered around in a generally flatperformance Monday, the West was achieving significant gains ofabout a nickel or more. Topping the list was San Juan Basin, wheresupply outages helped drive quotes up by about 15 cents. Prices inthe Rockies, Pacific Northwest and western Canada also were strongdue to cold weather. It snowed in Calgary Monday morning, onesource said, adding this is late in the season for snow but not arecord for Calgary.
The seesaw battle continued Wednesday in the natural gas pit atNymex, but in contrast to the modest gains posted during tradingMonday and Tuesday, yesterday’s session saw the bears regaincontrol. After opening at what would be its high for the day, theMarch contract drifted 6.3 cents lower to settle at $1.775, just apenny off its low.
Once again Monday flat to higher Western numbers were in starkcontrast to Eastern prices that mostly fell by around a nickel,although there were a few pockets of resistance in the East thatsaw flat to slightly higher pricing. Trading was predictablysubdued because of the simultaneous Thanksgiving Day in Canada andColumbus Day in the U.S., although few in the gas industry otherthan utilities took off for Columbus Day.
In sharp contrast to the frenzy and volatility during the monthof September, October futures trading has been a model ofcomplacency, where one day’s modest gains are another day’s lossesand narrow trading ranges are the rule rather than the exception.The November contract sputtered lower Monday in an “uneventful”trading session to settle at $2.393. Estimated volume was anextremely light 23,667.