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NEW YORK: US natural gas futures slipped on Monday on forecasts for less hot weather and a reduction in the amount of gas power generators will burn to keep air conditioners humming next week than previously expected.

Traders also noted prices were down on rising output and lower liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports despite near-record pipeline exports to Mexico.

Front-month gas futures fell 4.9 cents, or 1.6%, to $3.048 per million British thermal units at 9:06 a.m. EDT (1306 GMT).

But with gas prices in Europe near their highest since September 2018 and prices in Asia over $10 per mmBtu, US speculators boosted their net long futures and options positions on the New York Mercantile and Intercontinental Exchanges last week for the fourth time in five weeks. Traders expect global buyers will keep buying all the LNG the United States can produce.

Data provider Refinitiv said gas output in the Lower 48 US states averaged 91.8 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in June, up from 91.0 bcfd in May but still well below the monthly record high of 95.4 bcfd in November 2019.

With warmer weather coming, Refinitiv projected average gas demand, including exports, would rise from 88.2 bcfd this week to 88.9 bcfd next week. The forecast for next week was lower than Refinitiv predicted on Friday as a slightly less hot forecast will reduce air conditioning use.

The amount of gas flowing to US LNG export plants averaged 10.2 bcfd so far in June, down from 10.8 bcfd in May and the all-time high of 11.5 bcfd in April.

US pipeline exports to Mexico, meanwhile, averaged 6.54 bcfd so far in June, which would top the 6.11-bcfd average in May and the all-time high of 6.14 bcfd in April, according to Refinitiv data.

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