Cash prices for weekend and Monday gas on average Friday shed 10 cents as traders were reluctant to hold weekend positions in an environment of moderating weather and easy last-minute dispatch during the weekend.
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With the exception of a few Northeast points, physical prices staged a broad rally Tuesday, averaging gains of nearly 11 cents. Moderating temperatures in New England prompted lower quotes on Northeast pipes, and futures managed to join in the rally as well. At the close of futures trading August had gained 7.0 cents to $3.187 and September had risen 6.6 cents to $3.177. September crude oil added 36 cents to $88.50/bbl.
Physical gas prices continued to slide Thursday at nearly all points, likely helped lower by the screen’s milestone Wednesday of dropping below $2. Moderating weather in the Northeast Thursday pulled the plug on any price gains prior to the release of inventory data, and western locations weakened as well.
Physical natural gas prices for weekend and Monday delivery fell about 9 cents Friday as typically weak weekend loads combined with moderating weather to pummel prices lower.
Generally moderating forecasts for Friday that had The Weather Channel’s website asking “Late December…or Fall?” in its daily headline Thursday were a factor in Northeast quotes joining the softening trend that had begun on the previous day in the rest of the market. A small prior-day futures loss contributed a bit to downturns by all but a couple of trading locations.
A vast majority of natural gas cash averages moved higher on Tuesday for Wednesday delivery despite moderating temperatures, a relatively quiet tropical weather picture and a lack of support from the screen’s prior-day action. Even western points, which widely recorded drops on Monday for Tuesday delivery, got in on the upticks on Tuesday.
June natural gas futures rose in light trading Monday as traders reacted to forecasts of warmer weather but at the same time are seen as moderating their market exposure. At the close June futures had gained 11.6 cents to $4.346 and July was up 10.3 cents to $4.393. July crude oil sank $2.40 to $97.70/bbl.
May futures fell in light trading Monday as traders factored in moderating temperatures and looked for prices to decline nearly 20 to 30 cents. At the close May natural gas had dropped 7.3 cents to $4.289 and June shed 7.4 cents to $4.363. May crude oil continued higher, adding 53 cents to $108.47/bbl.
Triple-digit plunges in the Northeast and at some locations in the Midcontinent and West led a price downturn across the board Friday. Moderating temperatures in the short-term forecast for several areas, along with some easing of supply shortfalls in the Southwest and the usual weekend decline of industrial load, contributed to arresting the market’s general blizzard-based strength of the preceding four days.
Despite the current freeze gripping much of the eastern half of the United States, recent near-term forecasts of moderating temperatures helped ease natural gas futures values lower on Tuesday as the January contract reached a low of $4.250 before closing the regular session at $4.255, down 16.5 cents from Monday’s regular session close.