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Markets

US natgas futures slip on mild weather forecast, exports decline

  • Traders noted gas prices were also following oil futures lower. US crude fell more than $2 a barrel on renewed global demand concerns as coronavirus cases in Asia rise, among other things.
  • Front-month gas futures fell 4.2 cents, or 1.4%, to $2.970 per million British thermal units.
19 May, 2021

US natural gas futures slipped on Wednesday as exports dipped and on forecasts for milder weather and lower demand over the next two weeks than previously expected.

Traders noted gas prices were also following oil futures lower. US crude fell more than $2 a barrel on renewed global demand concerns as coronavirus cases in Asia rise, among other things.

Front-month gas futures fell 4.2 cents, or 1.4%, to $2.970 per million British thermal units at 9:16 a.m. EDT (1316 GMT).

Data provider Refinitiv said gas output in the Lower 48 US states averaged 90.8 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in May, up from 90.6 bcfd in April. That is still well below November 2019's monthly record of 95.4 bcfd.

With the coming of summer air conditioning use, Refinitiv projected average gas demand, including exports, would rise from 81.1 bcfd this week to 84.2 bcfd next week. The forecast for next week, however, was lower than Refinitiv projected on Tuesday because the latest outlook was for milder weather that should reduce the amount of gas power generators burn to keep air conditioners humming.

The amount of gas flowing to US LNG export plants averaged 10.9 bcfd so far in May, down from April's monthly record of 11.5 bcfd. The decline was due to short-term issues and normal spring maintenance at a few Gulf Coast plants and the gas pipes that supply them.

US pipeline exports to Mexico, meanwhile, averaged 6.0 bcfd so far in May, just off April's monthly record of 6.1 bcfd, Refinitiv data showed.

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