Friday was a day of tests at the New York Mercantile Exchange.The market pushed lower on the open to test support at $1.81 onlyto rebound in the hopes of knocking out resistance at $1.875.However, both attempts failed and the September contract was leftto close at $1.833, almost unchanged for the day.
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The August Nymex contract probed lower yesterday but managed torebound before the close, bringing an end the price slide sincelast Thursday’s $2.425 high. Tuesday’s choppy trade left the spotmonth up 1.7 cents at $2.226 on the day. Despite the tight tradingrange and modest gain posted for the day, the session was anythingbut uneventful. Estimated volume confirmed the active market with53,327 contracts changing hands.
The cash market lost some ground Tuesday, again defying sources’pre-holiday expectations of a rebound from last Thursday’s pricerout. Except for PG&E citygates and intra-Alberta-each upalmost a nickel into the high $2.20s and low C$2.00srespectively-and small gains at a couple of other scattered points,quotes registered as flat to down 5-7 cents.
Except for a couple of Western regions, cash prices Mondayfailed to realize the strong post-holiday recovery from Thursday’splunging numbers that sources had expected. Weakness in the futuresscreen acted as an obvious drag on Eastern prices, which weremostly flat to less than a nickel higher. And one trader felt thelarger upticks in the Rockies and San Juan Basin and at theCalifornia border were more a case of “them being so weak justprior to the holiday” than any great strength in Western markets.
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.
Traders saw a down-then-up pattern in many markets Monday asprice ranges tended to remain volatile, though not as large asduring Friday’s meltdown. The ups were smaller than the downs inmost cases, leaving average prices ranging from barely softer to asmuch as a dime lower. Malin saw the greatness weakness with a fallof about 15 cents, even though weekend OFOs at the Northern andSouthern California borders had ended.
The May Nymex contract continued to slowly rebound from itsmassive price downturn on Monday by closing Wednesday up another2.0 cents at $2.521. Trading was held to an extremely tight range,as the spot month could only post a high of $2.555. Total volumewas estimated at 255,671 contracts.
The April Nymex contract took a 5.1 cent hit to $2.241 onTuesday, as speculators continued to sell positions following thespot month’s inability to break above the $2.355 resistance levelon Monday, a source told GPI. Total volume was estimated at 41,490contracts.