4 Min Read
* Above-normal temperatures on tap for consuming regions
* Prices remain below key technical support levels
* Coming Up: EIA natgas storage data on Thursday
By Eileen Houlihan
NEW YORK, Nov 4 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures slid 2 percent on Monday, pressured for a sixth straight session to their lowest level in nearly six weeks by forecasts for above-normal temperatures that will curb heating demand in consuming regions.
"Natural gas futures have flushed further to the downside as the temperature forecasts continued to trend somewhat warmer through the weekend, removing some heating demand and likely postponing the start of seasonal storage withdrawals," said Citi Futures energy analyst Tim Evans.
In addition, technical traders noted the nearby contract remains well below both the 100-day and 200-day moving averages, another continued bearish sign.
With nuclear power plant outages below normal, a quiet tropical front and near record-high production, most traders expected more losses until sustained cold weather arrives.
Front-month December natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange slid 6.8 cents, or 1.94 percent, to settle at $3.445 per million British thermal units.
The nearby contract slid to $3.406 in electronic trade, a contract low and the lowest mark for a front-month since late September.
It traded as high as $3.869 three weeks ago, the highest price for a front-month contract since late June.
Other months ended lower as well on Monday, with winter months losing about 7 cents each.
In the cash market, gas for Tuesday delivery at the NYMEX benchmark, Henry Hub in Louisiana, slid 8 cents to $3.38, according to ICE. Late deals were done at about even with the front-month contract, compared to those done late Friday at a 4-cent discount.
Gas on the Transco pipeline at the New York citygate , however, rose 13 cents to $3.44, while Chicago gas slid 5 cents to $3.50.
The latest National Weather Service six- to 10-day outlook and the eight- to 14-day outlook, both issued on Sunday, called for above-normal temperatures for nearly the entire nation, with below-normal readings only in the West.
Last week's gas storage report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed total domestic inventories rose the prior week by 38 billion cubic feet to 3.779 trillion cubic feet, 3.1 percent below last year's level and 1.6 percent above the five-year average level.
Early injection estimates for Thursday's EIA storage report range from 30 bcf to 45 bcf versus a 27 bcf build during the same year-ago week and the five-year average increase of 36 bcf for that week.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said a broad low pressure system over the Central Caribbean had a low, 10 percent chance for further development in the next five days. The Atlantic hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.
Data from the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission showed about 12,800 megawatts, or 13 percent of U.S. capacity, was offline on Monday, even with Friday's outages but down from 26,800 MW out a year ago and a five-year average outage rate of 20,100 MW.