As yet another storm in what is shaping up to be one of thesnowiest winters on record pummeled New England Friday, natural gasfutures spiraled higher only to reverse lower at mid-day as tradersstared ahead at bearish intermediate-term temperature and storageoutlooks. The May contract tumbled lower under the considerableselling pressure to close at $5.025, leaving the prompt month witha 24.9-cent loss to conclude the week. Considering the size of theprice move, volume was relatively weak as less than 60,000contracts changed hands.
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Despite prospects for a potentially severe winter storm in theNortheast and moderate screen firmness, the cash market generallyranged from flat to down about 20 cents Friday, as falling weekenddemand made an impact. Northern California numbers retreated fromThursday’s spike, but the Southern California border tacked on morethan $2.50 to its market-leading average.
Slightly cooler temperatures in many major eastern marketregions dropped cooling demand a few notches yesterday, but alleyes quickly turned to the northwestern Caribbean Sea whereTropical Depression 11 appeared poised for a weekend visit to theGulf of Mexico.
After all the winter storm excitement in recent weeks, themarket appeared to be growing calmer Wednesday yet still managed tokeep pushing prices higher. Most of the upticks were between anickel and a little over a dime, with the Northeast remaining thebastion of dollar-plus increases.
Friday represented the eye of the storm for Georgia’s gasindustry, as Atlanta Gas Light (AGL), the state’s largestdistributor, and Peachtree Natural Gas, the bankrupt supplier to177,000 gas customers, brokered an interim solution to theirproblems at a federal bankruptcy court hearing. The hearing was aresult of an earlier AGL filing with the bankruptcy court, seekingto distribute Peachtree’s customers to other, “more creditworthy”suppliers.
Friday represented the eye of the storm for Georgia’s gas industry,as Atlanta Gas Light (AGL), the state’s largest distributor, andPeachtree Natural Gas, the bankrupt supplier to 177,000 gas customers,brokered an interim solution to their problems at a federal bankruptcycourt hearing. The hearing was a result of an earlier AGL filing withthe court, seeking to distribute Peachtree’s customers to other, “morecreditworthy” suppliers (see Daily GPI, Oct29).
After opening just below Tuesday’s close, the May futurescontract chopped lazily sideways yesterday before eking out a smallgain before the close. In fact, yesterday’s price action was sosubdued it was hard for some traders to believe it was expirationday at the New York Mercantile Exchange. The May contract completedits tenure as prompt month, expiring at $2.348, up 1.7 cents forthe day.