US Natural Gas Futures Fall for Third Day


US natural gas futures fell on Friday for a third day and ended the week down 2 percent on forecasts for warmer weather that may allow utilities to step up the pace of rebuilding severely depleted gas inventory. Warmer weather also pared spot gas prices while power prices for Monday rose across the country.

“Prices are heading lower today in a continuation of the bearish momentum we saw yesterday” after the government reported that utilities injected more gas into storage than analysts anticipated, said Aaron Calder, senior market analyst for Gelber & Associates in Houston. Front-month natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange settled down 5.8 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $4.647 per million British thermal units.

For the week, gas fell 9.4 cents, or nearly 2 percent, after hitting a two-month high on Monday and Thursday. “The market was unable to follow through to the upside,” said Steve Mosley of The Mosley Report. Traders now are looking for weekly injections to swell to 70 billion cubic feet or more starting next week, Mosley said. “That’s comforting to everyone and there’s not a lot of enthusiasm to push through $4.80 at this point,” he said.

The May contract will expire Monday. Despite recent losses, the front-month is still up about 10 percent since the start of the year. The latest US computer weather model however forecast slightly warmer than normal temperatures over the next 15 days, which was a bit warmer than a forecast six hours earlier, according to Thomson Reuters Analytics.

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