Cash market quotes overall averaged nearly 13 cents higher Wednesday aided by a strong screen from the day before and weather forecasts calling for the first major incursion of cold air of the season. Midwest points and those locations expected to feel the brunt of the late-week cold experienced gains upward of 20 cents, but Gulf and California advances were more modest. At the close of futures trading November had skidded 8.5 cents to $3.450 and December had slipped 8.5 cents also to $3.776. December crude oil continued lower losing 94 cents to $85.73/bbl.
Next-day gas prices surged in the Midwest as traders braced for near-term weather that was likely to send temperatures into a double-digit decline as a cold air mass descends on the mid-section of the country.
"A strong cold front is poised to move through the [Midwest] region through Saturday [with] showers and thunderstorms occurring with the front as it moves eastward," said Tom Moore, meteorologist at The Weather Channel. He added that "Temperatures [will] remain quite warm ahead of the cold front with highs in the 70s and 80s, [h]owever, behind the front temperatures tumble 20 to 40 degrees with highs mainly in the 40s and 50s, although a few areas could remain in the 30s in the northern Plains. Some light snow Thursday [is possible] from eastern SD to northwest MN."
Traders and analysts will be putting the finishing touches on their estimates for season-ending storage gas with the 10:30 a.m. EDT release of data from the Energy Information Administration. Last year a stout 95 Bcf was injected and the five-year average stands at 65 Bcf. IAF Advisors of Houston predicts a 66 Bcf fill and a Reuters survey of 26 industry analysts showed an average 67 Bcf with a range from 55 to 77 Bcf. Bentek Energy is looking for an increase of 69 Bcf.
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