Cash numbers ranged from flat to just over a nickel higher at afew points Thursday, and sources were nearly unanimous inattributing the upticks mostly to the example set by the Henry Hubfutures contract. In turn, they thought the screen strength derivedfrom the fairly hefty 203 Bcf figure in AGA’s Wednesday afternoonreport on storage withdrawals last week.
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Cash Market Flatness Ignores Futures Decline
The screen’s drop Tuesday didn’t make much of an impression onthe cash market, which was flat at the majority of points. TheMidcontinent tended to be a little weaker than the average asMidwest citygates were down by almost a nickel after a cold fronthad cooled off the region considerably.
West Upticks at Odds With Eastern Softness
East-West price tendencies remained at odds Monday. WhileEastern points ranged from flat to down as much as a nickel, theWest mostly was registering increases. Gains were particularlystrong in the California market, where Malin was up by nearly 15cents after PG&E had ended its weekend high-inventory OFO.
Alberta Jumps Far Outpace General Price Firmness
The overall cash market was flat to slightly higher Monday, withlarger increases tending to occur in the Southwest basins,Rockies/Pacific Northwest and California border. But by far thehighest-flying price point was intra-Alberta, where a NOVA ruptureSaturday (see Transportation Notes) was keeping up to 1 Bcf/d offthe market. Gas that had been trading in the low C$1.50s Saturdaymorning prior to the rupture was up to the C$2.10 area Monday, aCalgary source said.
August Futures Expire Mostly Flat Amid Flurry of Activity
A casual glance at the futures table — its narrow trading rangeand its small daily change — would lead one to believe Wednesdaywas a relatively quiet expiration day at Nymex, during which theAugust contract was ushered off the board at $1.942. ButWednesday’s trading was anything but ordinary. Traders wereinundated by a host of technical and fundamental factors, leadingto “very choppy” trading and heavy volume of 116,428.
Futures Mostly Flat on ‘Neutral’ Storage Report
The futures market shrugged off the latest AGA storage reportand made modest gains Thursday in a session notably devoid of freshnews. The August contract was limited to a narrow 5-cent range,settling up 1.4 cents to $1.948.
Prices Hit Plateau; Big Midcontinent Plant Blast
With little to go on in the way of guidance, cash prices muddledaround in an essentially flat performance. There were scattered upsand downs, but no point moved by more than a nickel in eitherdirection and most changes were minuscule.
Sources: Cash Will Emulate Screen Plunge Today
Nearly all points were “flat to up a smidge” Tuesday, as onemarketer described it. But the consensus among sources was thatprices will be coming down hard today, based on the Nymex screen’sbig downturn Tuesday. In fact, the cash reversal had alreadystarted in Tuesday’s late trading as some pipes dropped as much asa nickel from their heights.
April Flat to a Little Softer; May Still Lackluster
Flatness and mild softness dominated the late-April cash marketMonday. Enough heating load was being generated in the Northeastand Midwest to keep citygates and a number of field pointsessentially unchanged from Friday. Most of the downticks of 2-5cents again occurred in the West, where mild temperatures wereprevailing.
Cash Flat Again but Expected to Follow Screen Up
Cash price quotes again put on their stuck-in-cement actWednesday as flatness remained the common denominator among mostmarkets. But snowy conditions in the Rockies couldn’t keep mostof the region’s pipes from softening into the mid $1.90s.Denver-Julesburg Basin gas into CIG yielded about the only Rockiesquotes still above $2. A Denver-area trading firm reportedly closedits offices early Wednesday because of the snowstorm, as did manyColorado schools.