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U.S. natgas futures slip 2 pct ahead of EIA storage data
June 20, 2013 / 1:43 PM / 4 years ago

U.S. natgas futures slip 2 pct ahead of EIA storage data

* Front month still well above recent 3-month spot low
    * Nuclear power plant outages remain below normal
    * Coming up: EIA natgas storage data later Thursday

    By Eileen Houlihan
    NEW YORK, June 20 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures slid
nearly 2 percent early on Thursday, pressured by profit-taking
after three straight days of gains and ahead of weekly
government storage data expected to show another large inventory
build.
    Some traders expect the downside to be limited, with
continued hot weather on tap for much of the nation that should
boost cooling demand for the remainder of the month.
    Most traders and analysts expect weekly storage data from
the U.S. Energy Information Administration to show a build of
about 90 billion cubic feet, according to a Reuters poll.
 The data is due at 10:30 a.m. EDT (1430 GMT). 
    Stocks rose an adjusted 63 bcf in the same week last year
and on average have gained 80 bcf in that week over the past
five years.
    The latest National Weather Service six- to 10-day forecast,
issued on Wednesday, called for above-normal temperatures for
most of the country, with normal readings in the Southeast and
Texas.
    Private forecaster MDA Weather Services, in its six- to
10-day outlook issued Thursday, called for "broad coverage of
above-normal temperatures" throughout the nation.
    As of 9:31 a.m. EDT (1331 GMT), front-month July natural gas
futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were at $3.90
per million British thermal units, down 6.3 cents, after trading
between $3.873 and $3.964.
    The contract hit a nearly two-week high of $3.983 on
Wednesday after dropping to a three-month low of $3.71 last
week.
    Nuclear plant outages totaled 6,100 megawatts, or just 6
percent of U.S. capacity, down from 6,200 MW out on Wednesday,
9,900 MW out a year ago, and a five-year average outage rate of
7,500 MW. 
    Last week's EIA gas storage report showed domestic
inventories rose in the prior week by 95 bcf to 2.347 trillion
cubic feet. 
    (Storage graphic: link.reuters.com/mup44s)
        

 (Reporting by Eileen Houlihan; Editing by John Wallace)

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