It wasn’t surprising to see a majority of points softening again Friday as weather continued to be milder than in most winters and the weekend was taking a bite out of industrial demand. What may have been a bit surprising to some was that quite a few locations were flat or managed to rack up small gains to keep mixed price movement in play.
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There were still a few softening locations in the market Monday, but it was strength all the way Tuesday. Slightly milder temperatures will be returning in parts of the South Wednesday, but they will be offset by cooling trends in the previously unseasonably moderate Northeast.
Although softening continued at New England locations, most of the market found enough impending increases in heating load to spur higher prices Tuesday. The overall cash bullishness was able to overcome a prior-day drop of 8.7 cents by December futures and expectations that a net build in storage had extended into at least the first week of November.
A gain of slightly less than a cent in September futures a day earlier failed to keep nearly all of the cash market from softening Thursday. Some Atlantic tropical activity was going on but posed no near-term threat to offshore gas supply, and weather patterns have subsided to largely seasonal or slightly milder conditions for the time being.
Near-flat numbers continued to reign in most of the market Wednesday, but softening tendencies were becoming more noticeable. The absence of Atlantic tropical activity combined with a substantial cooldown in much of the Midwest to produce another mixed market in which spikes continued at many Northeast citygates but were counteracted to some extent by growing losses in the Midcontinent/Midwest and at some Gulf Coast locations.
The spot market saw mixed price movement Tuesday, but softening points were in a clear majority. Relatively moderate conditions in most of the Northeast and a reduction of strong heat developing in the western South lowered much of the weather-based load that had lifted nearly all locations a day earlier. Monday’s 6.6-cent drop by prompt-month futures was a further depressant for the Tuesday market.
The softening trend of cash prices appeared to have slowed to a near-standstill Tuesday as most losses were in single digits that day and were nearly offset by flat to higher locations. However, larger drops extended to a majority of points on the following day, and the downhill momentum got even steeper Thursday as mostly large declines (all in double digits) swept through the entire market.
The cash market Tuesday looked quite similar to the one a day earlier: prices again softening at most locations in the East and at some in the West, but with many in the Midcontinent and Rockies continuing to recover from the bargain basement levels to which they had descended for the weekend.
Having lost its joint venture partner, ConocoPhillips, and seeing no softening of the local government officials’ resistance, Mitsubishi’s Sound Energy Solutions (SES) is hoping a California Superior Court in Los Angeles will eventually put its plans back on track for a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Port of Long Beach. A court hearing Friday was set to outline the schedule for the case in the first quarter next year.
Having lost its joint venture partner, ConocoPhillips, and seeing no softening of the local government officials’ resistance, Mitsubishi Corp.’s Sound Energy Solutions (SES) is hoping a California Superior Court in Los Angeles will eventually put its plans back on track for a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in the Port of Long Beach. A court hearing Friday is supposed to set the schedule for the case in the first quarter next year.