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NYMEX January gas futures settle at $3.263/MMBtu, down 12.9 cents


The NYMEX January natural gas futures contract traded lower for afourth straight day Tuesday as increasingly bearish weather forecastscontinued to weigh on the market.

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The contract settled at $3.263/MMBtu, down 12.9 cents. The Januarycontract has now fallen in each of the previous four trading sessions, givingup a combined 30.4 cents, or 8.5%.

The fall in the prompt-month contract comes as the latest six- to 10-dayand eight- to 14-day outlooks from the US National Weather Service, issuedTuesday afternoon, continued to call for above-average temperatures across theeastern half of the country.

"The natural gas market continues to collapse its premium over the$3.20/MMBtu five-year-average price for this time of year as the temperatureforecast for the next two weeks trended warmer than a day ago," Citi Futures'Tim Evans said in an email Tuesday. "Warmer-than-normal temperatures from theSouthwest and Texas to the Great Lakes and East Coast are seen limitingoverall heating demand."

Last week, US working gas storage fell by 147 Bcf, nearly double thefive-year average, according to Thursday's weekly gas storage report from theEnergy Information Administration. Despite early expectations calling foranother outsized withdrawal this week, bullish weekly storage numbers havebeen unable to provide support to prices.

Over the next seven days, total US gas demand is expected to average 93.6Bcf/d, down from the sustained triple-digit levels reached in the previousweek, data from Platts Analytics' Bentek Energy showed.

The January contract so far on Tuesday has traded in a range between$3.242/MMBtu and $3.408/MMBtu.

--Samer Mosis,

--Edited by Annie Siebert,