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U.S. natgas drops over 4% as output rises, cooling demand eases


U.S. natural gas futures dropped over 4% on Monday as output slowly rises and cooling demand eases, keeping the amount of gas expected to go into storage on track for a record high this year.

Meteorologists projected temperatures will remain warmer than normal through at least mid-August but predicted the hottest days of summer were past.

Front-month gas futures fell 8.3 cents, or 4.6%, to $1.725 per million British thermal units at 11:27 a.m. EDT (1527 GMT).

Speculators, meanwhile, increased their long positions last week for a sixth week in a row to their highest since December 2018 on hopes energy demand will rise later this year as economic activity increases once governments lift coronavirus lockdowns.

Refinitiv said production in the Lower 48 U.S. states averaged 88.5 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) in July, up from a 20-month low of 87.0 bcfd in June but still well below the all-time monthly high of 95.4 bcfd in November.

Refinitiv projected U.S. demand, including exports, will slide from 91.5 bcfd this week to 90.8 bcfd next week. The forecast for next week is well below Refinitiv’s 93.4-bcfd outlook on Friday.

Pipeline gas flowing to U.S. LNG export plants averaged 3.3 bcfd (34% utilization) so far in July, down from a 20-month low of 4.1 bcfd in June and a record 8.7 bcfd in February.

U.S. pipeline exports, meanwhile, rose as consumers in neighboring countries cranked up their air conditioners.

Refinitiv said pipeline exports to Canada averaged 2.4 bcfd so far in July, up from 2.3 bcfd in June, but still below the all-time monthly high of 3.5 bcfd in December. Pipeline exports to Mexico averaged 5.63 bcfd so far this month, up from 5.44 bcfd in June and on track to top the record 5.55 bcfd in March.



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