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NEW YORK: US natural gas futures fell over 6% on Friday to a one-week low, pressured by rising US output and sinking global gas prices after Russia said it would send more fuel to Europe, factors that offset support from rising liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and forecasts for colder weather and soaring heating demand.

Gas prices in Europe slid more than 11% for a second day in a row after Russian President Vladimir Putin this week told Kremlin-controlled energy giant Gazprom to start pumping gas into European storage once Russia finishes filling its own stocks, which may happen by Nov. 8.

Since the summer, global gas prices have soared to record highs as utilities scrambled for LNG cargoes to refill low stockpiles in Europe and meet rising demand in Asia, where energy shortfalls have caused power blackouts in China. US futures also climbed, reaching a 12-year high in early October on a strong demand outlook for US LNG exports.

US stockpiles were currently about 3% below the five-year average for this time of year. In Europe, analysts said stockpiles were about 15% below normal.

After falling almost 7% on Thursday, gas futures fell 35.6 cents, or 6.2%, on Friday to settle at $5.426 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), putting the contract on track for its lowest close since Oct. 22.

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