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NEW YORK: US natural gas futures rose near 2% on Monday as liquefied natural gas exports continued to rise and output dipped as Gulf Coast producers shut some production before Hurricane Sally smashes into the Gulf Coast.

Sally is expected to hit near the Louisiana-Mississippi border early on Tuesday. Entergy Corp , the biggest power company in Louisiana and Mississippi, still has about 50,000 customers without service from Hurricane Laura in southwestern Louisiana since late August.

After falling to a four-week low last week, front-month gas futures rose 4.1 cents, or 1.8%, to settle at $2.310 per million British thermal units.

Data provider Refinitiv said output in the Lower 48 US states was on track to slide to a two-week low of 86.1 billion cubic feet per day on Monday due to a near 1-billion-cubic-feet-per-day (bcfd) decline in the Gulf Coast.

Traders noted futures rose despite a decline in overall demand as the weather turns mild.

Refinitiv projected demand, including exports, would slide from 85.3 bcfd this week to 82.4 bcfd next week.

The amount of gas flowing to US LNG export plants, meanwhile, was on track to average 5.1 bcfd in September. That is the most in a month since May and up for a second month in a row for the first time since hitting a record high of 8.7 bcfd in February.

The LNG-export gain comes as Cheniere Energy Inc's Sabine Pass in Louisiana ramps up after shutting in late August for Hurricane Laura and as global gas prices rise, making US gas more attractive in Europe and Asia following months of US cargo cancellations due to coronavirus demand destruction.

Cameron LNG's export plant in Louisiana, however, has remained shut since Aug. 27 due to lingering power outages from Laura. Some analysts say the plant could remain shut through mid October.