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NEW YORK: US natural gas futures fell almost 4% on Friday to a one-week low on forecasts for milder weather next week despite a colder outlook for mid February.

Front-month gas futures fell 10.0 cents, or 3.8%, to settle at $2.564 per million British thermal units, their lowest close since Jan. 22.

For the week, however, the contract was still up about 5% after falling almost 11% last week.

For the month, it was up about 1% after falling around 12% in December and 14% in November.

In the spot market, meanwhile, cold weather boosted next-day gas prices in New York City to their highest since January 2019 and gas in New England and power at the PJM Western Hub (from western Pennsylvania to Washington DC) and in New England to their highest since December.

Data provider Refinitiv said output in the lower 48 US states averaged 91.1 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in January. Traders said that was down from December’s eight-month high of 91.5 bcfd due to the freezing of some wells. Output hit an all-time monthly high of 95.4 bcfd in November 2019.

Refinitiv projected average gas demand, including exports, would slip from 129.1 bcfd this week to 125.3 bcfd next week as the weather turns milder before soaring to 135.9 bcfd in two weeks with an expected drop in temperatures.

The amount of gas flowing to US liquefied natural gas (LNG) export plants has averaged 10.4 bcfd so far in January.

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