It was a mostly softer swing market Monday, but with very littleconsistency in price movement. New quotes ranged from down around20 cents at Northeast citygates, which tended to see last week’sbiggest increases, to 2-5 cents higher in California, where alow-inventory OFO by PG&E helped boost demand. Other points inbetween were flat to down more than a nickel, with most of thedrops being in the vicinity of a nickel.
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The cash market settled down to mostly small gains Tuesday,although quite a few points registered close to flat. The largerincreases of a nickel or more were concentrated in California andthe Permian Basin and on CIG, which played belated catch-up withother Rockies pipes by rising almost a dime.
The overall market continued to consolidate mostly flatpositions Tuesday in another session of quiet trading and fairlytight price ranges. The little bit of movement tended to beslightly to the downside. Once again traders gleaned little in theway of guidance from a stagnant futures screen or from mild weatherfundamentals. A couple of sources seemed resigned to finishing outthe rest of the week in a sideways market.
Bears came out of the gate in force Thursday in reaction to ahigher than expected 91 Bcf storage injection, a plummeting futuresscreen and cooling temperatures in the Northeast. But for all thesound and fury most points stayed flat to Wednesday’s results orregistered minuscule drops of a penny or so.
The cash market entered one of its leveling-off phases Thursdaywith flat prices prevailing at a majority of points. A little earlystrength on the futures screen helped buoy physical gas at first,but toward the end of the morning cash numbers were following thescreen lower “step for step,” a Gulf Coast producer said. Onceagain there was essentially nothing to influence trading beside thescreen, she added, dismissing the AGA storage report Wednesdayafternoon as a non-event.
“Following the screen” obviously didn’t apply Tuesday as thecash market’s mostly flat performance was a far cry from the8.1-cent drop in the Henry Hub futures contract for June. But, as aGulf Coast trader noted, a substantial portion of the screensoftness occurred after cash had finished trading for the day, andto him that means it’s a safe bet to expect a decline in cashprices today.
Most of the cash market continued to sink a few cents lowerMonday in price showings that ranged from essentially flat to downmore than a dime on ANR’s Southeast Mainline, which is experiencinga capacity curtailment of about 100 MMcf/d during May due tocompressor maintenance.
Cash prices again showed little movement Thursday. The maindifference from the previous day was that small drops dominatedinstead of small increases. Thursday’s biggest fall of nearly adime came in Transco Zone 6-New York City.
Despite a dearth of fundamental support, the cash market sawmostly minor gains Wednesday. The firmness came as a surprise tomany who couldn’t understand where the demand was coming from. Aminuscule gain in Henry Hub futures didn’t give cash much impetusat all, one trader said.