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Natural gas futures will decline next week as the outlook for mild weather signaled reduced demand for the heating fuel, a Bloomberg survey showed.
Five of 10 analysts, or 50 percent, said futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange will fall through Oct. 26. Four, or 40 percent, said prices will rise and one said they will stay the same. Last week, 54 percent of participants said gas would fall this week.
Temperatures in the central and eastern U.S. will be above normal over the next six to 10 days, MDA EarthSat Weather in Gaithersburg, Maryland, predicted. The low in Chicago on Oct. 24 may be 56 degrees Fahrenheit (13 Celsius), 13 above normal, while Boston may be 6 above normal at 50 degrees, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.
A cold front will then sweep into the eastern half of the U.S., resulting in below-normal temperatures from Oct. 28 through Nov. 1, a forecast yesterday from Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, showed.
“We still have moderate weather that is going to temper prices in the short term,” said John Woods, president of JJ Woods Associates and a Nymex floor trader. “On a technical basis, the market is extremely long. It’s a matter of profit taking.”
U.S. heating demand will be 43 percent below normal through Oct. 25, according to Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri.
U.S. inventories rose 51 billion cubic feet last week to 3.776 trillion, below the five-year average gain for the week of 71 billion, the Energy Department said yesterday. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg forecast a gain of 47 billion.
Gas for November delivery rose 0.6 cent this week to $3.617 per million British thermal units on the Nymex, the highest settlement price since Dec. 1. Prices are up 21 percent this year.
The futures may rise to $3.63 next week before dropping back toward the $3.40 support level, Woods said. Gas rose to a 2012 intraday high of $3.638 on Oct. 12.
Bloomberg’s survey of natural-gas analysts and traders asks for an assessment of whether Nymex natural-gas futures will probably rise, fall or remain neutral in the coming week. This week’s results were:
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