UPDATE 3-U.S. natgas futures end down for 5th day, off 5.2 pct for week

Fri Nov 1, 2013 3:28pm EDT
 
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* Mostly above-normal temperatures seen for key regions

* Comfortable stockpiles, record production also weigh

By Joe Silha

NEW YORK, Nov 1 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended lower on Friday for the fifth straight session, pressured by forecasts for mild weather that should slow demand, the day after a weekly inventory report came in slightly above consensus estimates.

The nearby contract, down 1.8 percent in the previous two weeks, finished the week down 5.2 percent as moderate forecasts through mid-November weighed on prices. It was the biggest weekly decline in two months.

"Weather forecasts turned warmer this week, and there's no end in sight. And some private forecasts for November and December are also looking more bearish," said Steve Mosley at The SMC Report in Arkansas.

Front-month gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange ended down 6.8 cents, or 1.9 percent, at $3.513 per million British thermal units, after trading between $3.508 and $3.578.

Despite recent weakness, technical traders said there was decent support in the $3.50 area, noting the front contract has tested and mostly held above that level for the last four weeks.

With stockpiles at comfortable levels and production flowing at a record-high pace, many traders remain skeptical of any upside, at least until some sustained cold kicks up demand.   Continued...