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May gas attempts overnight retreat but holds above $2/MMBtu

Afterrising by 10.7 cents in the prior session to a finish at $2.018/MMBtu, Maynatural gas futures toyed with the downside overnight ahead of the Friday,April 8, open, as market focus reverted to the bearish implications ofrecord-high inventories and moderating weather in forecasts that shouldeventually sap demand and allow for the onset of a steady stream of stockinjections. Lingering cold weather in the near term, however, onceagain swayed the market higher. Still holding firmly above the $2/MMBtu markthrough overnight trade, the front-month contract pulled back to a $2.010/MMBtulow before turning positive, trading last up 1.3 cents at $2.031/MMBtu.

Totalworking natural gas inventories have surpassed the previous record of 2,473 Bcfset on March 31, 2012, after the U.S. Energy Information Administrationoutlined a net 12-Bcfinjection to stocks for the week to April 1 that took overallinventories to 2,480 Bcf. Stocks currently stand at 1,008 Bcf above theyear-ago level and 874 Bcf above the five-year average of 1,606 Bcf.

Thereported addition to storage in the final week of the titular withdrawal seasonwas on the high end of the full range of estimates coming into the day that had spanned buildsranging from 1 Bcf to 15 Bcf, and was above the average anticipated 8-Bcfinjection. It compared against a 19-Bcf five-year-average withdrawal and a6-Bcf build seen in the corresponding week in 2015.

Weatherforecasts meanwhile offered a mix bag, providing near-term support for gains,while further ahead, supported the transition from storage withdrawals to along period of stock injections, as moderating weather in store spellsdeclining demand that should allow for natural gas to flow more freely intounderground storage facilities.

TheNational Weather Service outlook shows below-average temperatures lingeringover a majority of the East, a patch of the Gulf Coast and portions of theSouthwest in the upcoming six- to 10-day period, as above-average temperatureshold over much of Florida, the bulk of the Northwest into Colorado and parts ofthe west-central U.S. Average temperatures settle over the balance of thecountry, encompassing a narrow band in the West, the midsection of the Midwest,most of the Gulf Coast, a small section of the Southeast and the upper tier ofthe Northeast.

Below-averagetemperatures exit the East and shrink in scope in the Southwest to be containedto Arizona and the fringes of the neighboring states in the eight- to 14-dayforecast, as above-average temperatures overtake nearly all of the country'snorthern tier, as well as parts of California, the Gulf Coast and Florida.Average temperatures settle over the bulk of the southern U.S.

Incash trading, natural gas prices for next-day flow had a strong showing in muchof the country Thursday, as returning cold looked to drive up demand.

Lookingat the key delivery locations, a better-than-5-cent gain took benchmark HenryHub day-ahead gas price action to an index at $1.962/MMBtu, as a near 3-centuptick drove Chicago spot gas pricing to an index at $1.953/MMBtu and anincrease of a little more than 2 cents steered PG&E Gate next-day gas priceactivity to an index at $1.927/MMBtu. Running against the wider advance, adowndraft of almost 8 cents on average pulled Transco Zone 6 NY hub prices toan index at $1.766/MMBtu.

On aregional basis, Gulf Coast and Midwest cash gas pricing rose by around 5 centson average to indexes at $1.866/MMBtu and $1.871/MMBtu, respectively, as WestCoast spot gas price action climbed by roughly 3 cents in deals averaging at$1.641/MMBtu and Northeast day-ahead gas price activity soared by nearly 28cents on the session to an index at $2.215/MMBtu.

Marketprices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication andare subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power andnatural gasindex prices, as well as forwards and futures, visitour Commodities Pages.