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NEW YORK: US natural gas futures eased on Wednesday on forecasts for continued mild weather over the next two weeks, which should allow utilities to put enough gas into storage for the winter heating season when demand for the fuel peaks.

Stockpiles were about 7% below normal for this time of year in the United States versus over 20% below normal in some European countries, according to analysts and government data.

US prices fell even though gas in Asia traded at fresh record highs and forecasts for more US demand over the next two weeks as warmer-than-usual weather in some parts of the country will cause some homes and businesses to keep using their air conditioners.

On their first day as the front month, gas futures for November delivery fell 8.7 cents, or 1.5%, to $5.793 per million British thermal units at 8:15 a.m. EDT (1215 GMT).

On Tuesday, when the October future was still the front-month, the contract closed at its highest level since February 2014 for a second day in a row as soaring global gas prices keep demand for US liquefied natural gas strong. The United States exports about 10% of the gas it produces as LNG.

Sharp price increases over the past few days pushed futures at-the-money implied volatility to 91.4%, its highest since February. In February, implied volatility, a determinant of an option’s premium, soared to 115.1% during the Texas freeze, its second highest on record.

The oil-to-gas ratio, or level at which oil trades compared with gas, fell to 12-to-1. So far in 2021, crude has traded about 20 times over gas.

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