Buyers appeared to be winning most of the price standoffs inlate bidweek business Thursday. Michigan citygates were down to thelow $1.90s after deals had been done earlier in the mid $1.90s, amarketer said. Another felt it odd to see Michigan trading at aslightly negative basis for a change after hitting plus 24-25 insome cases last winter. But several traders agreed there’s nomystery to the basis weakness; “it’s all that storage” in thestate, one commented. We’ll continue to see Michigan beingdiscounted relative to Chicago deliveries for quite a while, againfor the storage reason, he said.
Articles from Late
Natural Gas futures tumbled late in the trading session Tuesday,breaking momentarily below major support at $1.945, before settlingat $1.951. The nearly 15-cent slide exhibited by the Augustcontract comes on the heels of a nearly 3-week decline, leavingmany traders wondering if Tuesday’s big move lower was the end ofthe downtrend or one just picking up speed. Estimated volume of106,004 contracts favored the later.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order lateFriday authorizing the California ISO on an interim basis to”reject bids in excess of whatever price levels it believes areappropriate for Regulation, Spinning Reserve, Non-Spinning Reserveand Replacement Reserve. The price levels could be based on costs,market or any factor the ISO determines will attract sufficientbids into the markets.”
ÿBetter late than never, bullish traders must have thought onTuesday. After posting a extremely light trading session on Monday,the spot August Nymex futures contract exploded 8.0 cents higher tosettle Tuesday at $2.469. The contract managed to hit a high of$2.485 amid a session when a robust 52,644 estimated totalcontracts changed hands.
Heavy air conditioning load and a tightening of supplyavailability not only generated a late rebound in bidweek pricesFriday but also pushed up last-of-May and early June aftermarketnumbers in nearly all Eastern, Gulf Coast and Midcontinent/Midwestmarkets. Waha and Permian Basin gas, supported by Texas andMidcontinent cooling demand, also was rising above index levels.But in the generally cool West, weekend and 1st-of-month swingprices tended to go down by a few cents.
Cash prices rose by a nickel to a dime virtually across theboard Monday in what sources saw as “purely a weather play.”Liquidity was a bit tighter than usual as many traders hurried tofinish and head for this week’s trade fair in Houston, one pointedout. Also, a fair amount of gas had already been committed throughthe end of the fair, he said.
Rep. John E. Ensign (R-NV) proposed legislation late last weekthat would provide a 50-cent income tax credit for each gallonequivalent of natural gas, propane and methanol used in vehiclesplaced in service after Dec. 31, 1997. The tax credit will act as a”significant financial” incentive for fleet managers and others tostep up their use of clean, domestic fuels.