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Gas futures slip after inventory data

Natural gas is on course for a huge weekly loss, with warm weather on the way and a storage report from the US Energy Department broadly in line with expectations.

Natural gas has seen some big price moves this year. This winter’s harsh weather in the US has caused some big declines in the US stockpile of gas in previous weeks and that drove the price higher for much of January and February.

After breaking above $5 per million British thermal units last week though, the price has turned down markedly. Natural gas futures were down 0.57% at $4.512 per million British thermal units by mid-afternoon in New York today.

The Energy Information Administration said today that gas in US storage fell 95 billion cubic feet last week to 1.348 trillion cubic feet, a slightly smaller decline than the consensus estimate of a Bloomberg survey. The five-year average for the week in question is 125 billion cubic feet. The US heating season normally comes to an end around the end of next month, so a reprieve from the severe cold in the next few weeks would have a large impact on gas usage, with around half of US homes heated by natural gas. The weather channel forecasts milder temperatures moving in over the US Northeast this weekend.

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