U.S. natural gas futures slip early as forecasts trend cooler
NEW YORK, June 14 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures lost ground early on Friday after climbing in the two previous sessions, pressured by a cooler trend in U.S. weather forecasts that should slow demand for air conditioning. Gas prices have been struggling for the last few weeks in the face of fairly mild late-spring weather. The front-month gas futures contract is down about 1 percent so far this week and lost nearly 10 percent in the previous two weeks. With no extreme heat forecast for at least the next two weeks in key population centers of the Midwest and East, few traders expect much upside, particularly with more hefty storage builds expected in coming weeks and production still flowing at or near a record high. At 9:15 a.m. EDT (1315 GMT), front-month gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were down 2.2 cents at $3.792 per million British thermal units after trading between $3.778 and $3.831. The front month briefly dipped to a three-month low of $3.71 on Wednesday. Many traders viewed Thursday's report of a 95 billion cubic feet inventory build last week as neutral for prices, noting it was in line with the Reuters poll estimate of 96 bcf. But some saw it as bearish, coming in well above the five-year average increase for that week of 84 bcf. The U.S. Energy Except for some modest heat in Texas and parts of the Southwest, Commodity Weather Group expects temperatures for the eastern half of the nation to remain near seasonal for the next two weeks.
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