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Article updated: 6/5/2013 10:22 AM

Natural gas futures fluctuate

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By Bloomberg News

Natural gas futures fluctuated in New York before a weekly report that may show a larger-than-average stockpile increase.

Gas moved between gains and losses as government data scheduled for release tomorrow in Washington may show that inventories rose 99 billion cubic feet in the seven days ended May 31, according to the median of 15 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The five-year average gain for the week is 92 billion. Supplies rose 63 billion the same week last year.

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"This could be the biggest storage injection for a while," said Phil Flynn, a senior market analyst for Price Futures Group in Chicago. "If we see a number in the triple digits, that's going to put a negative spin on the market."

Natural gas for July delivery fell 0.3 cent to $3.995 per million British thermal units at 10:09 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was 46 percent below the 100-day average for the time of day. The futures have gained 19 percent this year.

The discount of July to October futures narrowed 0.1 cent to 2.2 cents.

July $3.70 puts were the most active options in electronic trading. They were down 0.1 cent to 1.5 cents per million Btu on volume of 155 lots at 10:11 a.m. Puts accounted for 59 percent of trading volume. Implied volatility for at-the-money options expiring in July was 28.58 percent at 10 a.m., compared with 28.56 percent yesterday.

Stockpile Report

Gas inventories totaled 2.141 trillion cubic feet in the week ended May 24, 3.9 percent below the five-year average and 23.7 percent below last year's level for the period, the Energy Information Administration said in last week's supply report. Tomorrow's report is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. in Washington.

MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, said temperatures would be lower-than-average in the Northeast through June 14.

The high in New York on June 13 may be 69 degrees Fahrenheit (21 Celsius), 10 less than usual, according to AccuWeather Inc. The high in Philadelphia on June 13 may be 73 degrees Fahrenheit, 9 below normal. Power generation accounts for 33 percent of U.S. gas demand, according to the EIA, the Energy Department's statistical arm.

An area of low pressure over the Gulf of Mexico has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical cyclone within the next 48 hours, according to the National Hurricane Center. The rain and clouds associated with the system may lower temperatures enough to decrease daytime energy demand on the East Coast, Matt Rogers, president of Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, said in a forecast today.

U.S. gas output will rise to an all-time high for the sixth straight year as new wells come online at shale formations, such as the Marcellus in the Northeast, the EIA said May 7 in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook. Marketed gas production will average a record 69.9 billion cubic feet a day this year, up from 69.18 billion a day in 2012, the agency said.

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