Milder weather keeps UK prompt gas prices steady
* Prices to weaken on rising Norwegian imports
* Temperatures to rise further
LONDON, April 26 (Reuters) - British prompt gas prices were steady on Thursday morning as the impact of rising temperatures offset supply shortages of nearly 15 million cubic metres (mcm), while analysts predicted slight price weakness on rising Norwegian imports.
Gas for day-ahead delivery was flat at 58.35 pence at 0910 GMT and within-day gas was trading around 58.95 pence per therm, little-changed on the day.
UK gas demand was expected to be 255.1 mcm on Thursday, over 10 percent below the seasonal norm, according to National Grid data, as gas consumption fell due to milder weather conditions.
The UK's MetOffice said it expected temperatures to continue to rise, with the possibility of maximum temperatures of as much as 17 degrees Celsius on Friday.
Offsetting the impact of warmer weather on prices, supplies were tight with the UK gas market expected to be 14.9 mcm undersupplied on Thursday, according to data from National Grid.
Despite the supply shortages, analysts at Point Carbon said they expected prices to remain the same or fall slightly with consumption forecast to drop 7 mcm.
"Other bearish factors are the increase in Norwegian gas imports and LNG stocks - the bullish factors which are mainly lower LNG send outs and higher IUK exports are not expected to fully offset the bearish elements," Point Carbon said.
Further out on the curve, gas prices for delivery in May were trading at 44.00 pence a therm.
Energy brokers GFI said they were bearish in their price outlook for May gas contracts.
"Support at 56.40 needs to break to confirm what the chart is suggesting right now; that we're headed lower," GFI said in a research note, adding it expected prices to fall to around 58.40 pence per therm. (Reporting by Alessandra Prentice; editing by James Jukwey)
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