June 27, 2013 / 1:18 PM / in 4 years

U.S. natural gas futures lose ground ahead of EIA storage data

NEW YORK, June 27 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures lost
ground early, with traders pulling back ahead of what is
expected to be another bearish weekly inventory report due out
later Thursday morning.
    Traders and analysts polled by Reuters expect to see an
increase of 88 billion cubic feet in gas inventories when the
U.S. Energy
    Inventory builds have exceeded the five-year average for the
last three weeks and prompted some analysts to raise estimates
for peak storage this year. On average, analysts are expecting
stocks to top out this year at 3.767 trillion cubic feet,
according to a Reuters poll released on Wednesday. 
    If the forecast holds, it would be the first time in five
years that gas inventories do not start winter at a record high.
    At 9:05 a.m. EDT (1305 GMT), front-month gas futures 
on the New York Mercantile Exchange were down 2.6 cents at
$3.711 per million British thermal units after trading between
$3.70 and $3.757. The front contract posted a 3-1/2-month low of
$3.635 on Wednesday.
    Heat remains focused in the West for the next two weeks, but
 temperatures were also expected to trend warmer for the
Northeast and northern tier states during the period, according
to private forecaster MDA Weather Services. Readings in the
Midwest and Southeast were expect to average below normal.
    Many traders remain skeptical of the upside without a
sustained, broad-based heat wave, particularly with inventories
comfortable and gas production still at or near a record high.

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