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NYMEX April gas settles at $2.778/MMBtu, up 4.6 cents, on increased demand

The NYMEX April natural gas futures contract rose 4.6 cents Monday tosettle at $2.778/MMBtu, as cold weather and an boost in demand supportedprices.

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The front-month contract rebounded slightly over March from a steepdecline over February. Since February 26, when the March contract expired asthe front month, the front-month contract has risen 13.9 cents, or 5.3%.

Cold weather blanketing parts of the country does not appear to beleaving just yet, as the most recent eight- to 14-day outlook from theNational Weather Service calls for a likelihood of colder-than-averageweather along the Northwest, Southwest, Rockies, Midwest and Northeast.

Coinciding with the colder weather was an uptick in demand across thecountry. US demand has averaged 86.6 Bcf/d over the past seven days, 2 Bcf/dhigher than the 84.6 Bcf/d averaged so far in March and 5.1 Bcf/d higher thanthe 81.5 Bcf/d average over March 2017, according to S&P Global PlattsAnalytics.

But the demand bump may be short-lived as, according to PlattsAnalytics, US demand is expected to fall to an average of 81 Bcf/d over thenext seven days and an average of 75.9 Bcf/d over the next eight to 14 days.

Production has continued to stay at the high levels seen so far over2018, as US dry production has averaged 77.7 Bcf/d so far over the month ofMarch, a 6.3 Bcf/d increase from the 71.4 Bcf/d averaged over March 2017,according to Platts Analytics.

Looking ahead, market players will watch how the shoulder season affectsimports from Canada, as they average 6.2 Bcf/d over the past seven days, 1.3Bcf/d above the 4.9 Bcf/d averaged over March 2017.

The NYMEX settlement is considered preliminary and subject to changeuntil a final settlement price is posted at 7 pm EDT (2300 GMT).

--Tyler Schwartz,

--Edited by Richard Rubin,