Physical natural gas cash prices fell 3 cents on average Wednesday, but that included some hefty drops at northeastern points, as weather-related demand plummeted. If those are taken out of the mix, the overall market actually added a couple of pennies on average. Gulf points were particularly strong, and New England was particularly weak. Spot futures managed to settle well above $4 and posted an 18-month high. At settlement May was $4.068, up 7.7 cents and June added 7.7 cents as well to $4.108. May crude oil gained 24 cents to $96.58/bbl.
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Cash prices tumbled an average of about a half-dollar Wednesday, led by free-falling multi-dollar drops in New England and other eastern and Northeast points. If those extra-volatile points are removed from the calculations, the overall average drop was of nearly a quarter.
Excluding the big weather-derived drops at eastern points, physical natural gas fell about 6.5 cents on Monday, a little more than the slip-sliding futures. At the close of futures trading March had fallen 4.6 cents to $2.431 and April had given up 3.6 cents to $2.620. March crude oil jumped $2.24 to $100.91/bbl.
Physical natural gas prices Tuesday bounded higher, led by expectations of significant drops in temperatures and stout power prices. Futures headed south as traders factored in expectations of storage data expected to swell the surplus still further. March slumped 7.8 cents to $2.472 and April skidded 11.0 cents to $2.628. March crude oil rose $1.50 to $98.41/bbl.
Only a few points in the Pacific Northwest/Northern California area were able to avoid to avoid continuing price drops Monday. As predicted last week, temperatures are dividing into below normal in the West and above normal in most of the East. The post-weekend restoration of industrial demand had essentially no price-boosting impact.
The cash market saw further drops at all points except one Friday. There was little change in overall weather-based load for the weekend as small temperature gains in some sections were largely balanced by slight cooling trends, while some areas were seeing little change in their forecasts.
Following the previous Friday’s sizeable drops, the market was definitely stronger Monday but remained a bit soft for the most part. Although warmer temperatures are forecast for Tuesday in some sections of the Midwest, stormy weather is expected to cool most of the region by midweek, and although it will remain generally hot, some parts of the South can also expect a slight dip in mercury levels.
Price drops got larger and occurred across the board Thursday after several instances of firmness had remained a day earlier. An ongoing moderation of temperatures in northern market areas combined with a prior-day dip of 9.3 cents by prompt-month futures to further the cash market weakness.
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