June 14, 2013 / 1:31 PM / 5 years ago

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
    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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