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June NYMEX gas eases slightly to $2.808/MMBtu ahead of EIA storage report

NYMEX June natural gas futures eased slightly in overnight US trading ahead ofThursday's open and the midmorning release of storage data which is poised tobecome the next major catalyst for price movement. Having shed 2.1 cents inthe previous session, the contract was 0.7 cent lower at $2.808/MMBtu at 7:15am ET (1115 GMT).

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Warmer weather which generated early cooling load but also encouraged a sharpdecline in heating demand is expected to have driven the season's firsttriple-digit storage injection when the US Energy Information Administrationreleases its next inventory report which will cover the week ended May 11.

During the week ended May 9, much of which will be reflected in the upcomingstorage data, warmer weather triggered a 14% increase in power burn week onweek alongside a 37% drop in residential/commercial-sector demand, accordingto the EIA's latest Natural Gas Weekly Update. Total US gas consumption wasdown 4% on the week.

Estimates for the forthcoming storage data call for a build to stocks ofanywhere from 99 Bcf to 110 Bcf, with consensus formed at a 104 Bcf addition.That would compare to a 64 Bcf prior-year injection and an 87 Bcf five-yearaverage build.

Additional warmer weather is on deck for the bulk of the country in the weeksahead, as the National Weather Service continues to see above-averagetemperatures covering nearly the entire country through both the six-to-10-dayand eight-to-14-day periods.

Analysts see diverging weather-related demand patterns associated with warmerconditions driving a degree of uncertainty in the market, however.

"We continue to look for the possibility of a two-sided trade becauseprojected warm weather suggests low heating demand, but the building ofcooling demand, could have a mixed impact on the rate of subsequent storageinjections," FX Empire analyst James Hyerczyk said.

-Staff reports,

--Edited by Maurice Geller,