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NYMEX September natural gas settles 8.9 cents higher on bullish storage report

Houston — The NYMEX September natural gas contract rose in Thursday trading on the back of a bullish storage report posted by the Energy Information Administration.

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The front-month contract settled at $2.232/MMBtu, 8.9 cents up from Wednesday's settlement. The contract wandered in a range of $2.138-$2.267/MMBtu.

"More people are thinking this is a really nice level to buy, if not for this month, then the next month," said John Woods of JJ Woods Associates. "People are establishing a longer position in the latter months."

Click here for full-size graphic

The EIA reported an estimated 49 Bcf injection into national gas stock for the week ended August 9, significantly below the 57 Bcf predicted by a consensus of analysts surveyed by S&P Global Platts. However, the injection was still 16 Bcf above the 33 Bcf at this time last year and 1 Bcf over the five-year average of 48 Bcf over the same period. The Midwest saw the largest increase in gas stock with 28 Bcf, according to the EIA.

Working gas in storage sits at 2.74 Tcf, 15% above year-ago levels but at a 3.9% deficit to the five-year average, EIA data shows.

Looking ahead, the most recent eight- to 14-day weather outlook from the National Weather Service predicts warmer-than-average temperatures for the Northeast and Midwest, which could support prices. The Northeast is forecast to experience a hot spell, with temperatures averaging 78.6 F over the upcoming week, 2.7 degrees higher than the 75.9 averaged over the same period last year, Platts Analytics data shows.

US dry production is forecast to rise from Thursday's 89.3 Bcf to an average of 89.7 Bcf/d over the next eight to 14 days, according to Platts Analytics.

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

-- Humza Jamal, Humza.Jamal@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com