Futures came under heavy follow-through selling pressure fromall segments of the market Friday, adding to a 14-cent lossregistered Thursday. Sources pointed to a weak cash market, whichwas joined by fresh bearish technicals late last week, as reasonsfor the decline. The November contract gapped lower Friday andtrended mostly lower throughout the session to settle at $2.191, a6.3 cent decline.
Articles from Pressure
Futures came under heavy selling pressure early in the dayMonday, and the market never looked back as traders began discountto the threat of Hurricane Georges causing a major impact to gasproduction. “There was only one certainty you could bank on cominginto the market [Monday] morning. Momentum-whichever way the marketmoved at the open would dictate the direction for the rest of thetrading session,” a New York broker said. The October contract wasdealt the largest losses, slipping 15 cents to limp off the boardat $2.031.
The futures market again came under selling pressure onWednesday as traders embraced the possibility Hurricane Georgeswould not be a threat to natural gas concerns in the Gulf ofMexico. The October contract was able to post an optimistic open at$2.23 before profit taking led the contract to settle at $2.131, a5.5 cent loss for the day.
The futures market came under heavy selling pressure earlyThursday, adding to losses that began in the Wednesday eveningAccess session. However, the October contract was unable to broachsupport at $2.075, and buying enabled the prompt month to recoverslightly in the afternoon. October ended the day down 10.3 cents at$2.138.
The futures market again came under heavy selling pressure onWednesday as new bearish technical factors added to the alreadynegative fundamental outlook. The September contract never had achance, managing to post a high yesterday that matched Tuesday’slow, while slipping 6.6 cents to settle at $1.762. Estimated volumesubstantiated the price move, with a whopping 93,150 contractschanging hands.
California lawmakers, responding to pressure from utilities andutility employee unions, have enacted a law outlawing customerchoice for residential and small commercial natural gas customersuntil at least the year 2000. The new law (SB 1602) passed in thewaning days of the 1998 legislative session and signed by Gov.Wilson Tuesday prohibits the California Public UtilitiesCommission, which pushed through restructuring of the electricindustry, from moving ahead with gas unbundling . Between now and2000 the CPUC can continue to investigate and talk about choice forsmall customers, but it cannot take any actions without gettinglegislative authorization.
The July Nymex futures contract crept up another 2.9 cents tosettle Tuesday at $2.391, as hot weather and subsequent strong cashmarket prices continued to support the futures strip. July reacheda high of $2.41 on the day, which is just 2 cents shy of its nextresistance level. However, one source feels the spot month may havetrouble breaking that level in regular trading today since heexpects many traders to stay on the sidelines in anticipation ofthe latest AGA storage report, to be released this evening.
The rapid pace of gas injections into the nation’s storagefacilities this spring (9.4 Bcf/d, or 5.4 Bcf/d greater than overthe same period last year) and the current massive surplus ofstored gas (331 Bcf) compared to levels at the same time over thepast four years prompted Wefa Inc. to turn extremely bearish onspot prices. The additional storage this year is equal to 5% ofdemand for the remainder of the non-heating season, Wefa said inthe May edition of its Natural Gas Monthly.
With regulatory changes and greater competition increasingpressure on gas utilities to stay competitive with their gaspurchases, the last thing they need is another warm winter toconfuse their gas purchasing and storage plans. NGC Corp. isoffering several new financial products utilities and largeendusers may find useful in reducing exposure to unpredictableweather and volatile market conditions.