Despite the bullish double whammy of rising crude prices and the development of a tropical wave in the Atlantic, natural gas futures remained extremely quiet Friday, as traders elected to wait until a clearer fundamental and technical picture develops. With that the November contract spent a second straight day moving sideways, slipping 0.9 cents at the close to finish at $2.244. November crude oil, meanwhile, tracked 69 cents higher to close at $23.43.
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Saying its overall linepack was low because Tropical Storm Barry had “significantly affected receipt gas” and market area demand was strong, Florida Gas Transmission issued an Overage Alert Day for Monday’s gas day with a 10% tolerance for negative daily imbalances.
Feeding off Wednesday’s weakness and reflecting fading concernsthat any of the three tropical systems would reach the gas-richGulf of Mexico, the futures market tumbled lower yesterday as bothcommercial and speculative traders exited long positions. Theresultant price slide left the September contract just penniesabove its $2.90 low for the week and turned several bulls intoshort-term bears. The prompt month finished 8.2 cents lower at$2.948 shortly after notching a $2.93 low late in the session.
Arguments likely raged all day Friday over whether the gasmarket was overreacting to Tropical Storm Bret or not. But as evena member of the “overhyped” camp reluctantly conceded, there was nodenying that cash prices ignored mild northern market-area weatherand the usual drop in weekend load to achieve gains of up to adime. The smallest showings of flat to only about a nickel highercame at western points, which are more insulated from potentiallosses of Gulf of Mexico production.