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June Set to End on Weak Note, Called 4 Cents Lower

The expiring June natural gas contract is expected to open 4 cents lower Thursday morning at $1.95 in spite of the fact that traders are digesting a storage report that is expected to show inventory increases far less than historical averages. Overnight oil markets rose.

Last year, a stout 106 Bcf was injected, and the five-year average build is 97 Bcf. This week's report isn't expected to even come close. Analysts at IAF Advisors calculate an increase of 65 Bcf, and a Reuters poll of 20 traders and analysts showed an average 68 Bcf with a range of 60 Bcf to 76 Bcf.

John Sodergreen, editor of Energy Metro Desk, in his weekly survey hints at somewhat higher risk to the report. "Our range this week is actually a little wider than the Early View. Not a good sign. And while the spread between the three categories we track was tight at 1.85 Bcf, we do see a LowBaller report on Thursday, closer to the editor at 63-65 Bcf."

Sodergreen's GWDD Model comes in at a 62 Bcf injection, somewhat on the low side "due to cold weather in the North, thus the LowBaller forecast. Bias is to the low side of consensus it appears. Last week's weather was 52% colder than last year/same week and 67% colder than the five-year average, same week."

Extended heat seems to be nowhere in the forecast. Commodity Weather Group in its Thursday morning report said, "Western heat looks to pop, then fade. The start of meteorological summer features lots of moving parts rather than a stable pattern regime. Warmer weather in the eastern U.S. in the first few days is forecast to give way to a cooler pattern arriving in the Midcontinent later next week, while western heat is expected to rebuild stronger. Right now, the peak heat day in the West looks to be toward the first weekend of June with potential 90s in Portland and 100-degree readings in Sacramento."

In overnight Globex trading July crude oil rose 56 cents to $50.12/bbl and July RBOB gasoline added a penny to $1.6552/gal.

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