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$3.25 June Futures In Sight, Analyst Says; June Called 7 Cents Higher

June natural gas is expected to open 7 cents higher Wednesday morning at $3.02 as traders still see higher trading objectives in reach but within a more volatile framework. Overnight oil markets rose.

Tim Evans of Citi Futures Perspective saw Tuesday's rise and fall as the result of "short-term technical factors, with a bout of early short-covering followed by profit-taking from short-term bulls afraid they may have missed the peak. The market became more volatile, [although] there doesn't seem to be much change in the midday weather update."

Evans is looking for a 95 Bcf build in Thursday's Energy Information Administration (EIA) inventory report and has tempered his forecasts for weeks further out. By June 5, his calculations show the year-on-five-year deficit having flipped to a surplus of 14 Bcf.

"Although this still confirms some easing of supplies on a seasonally adjusted basis, we do note it is less of a weight on prices than a day ago or a week ago. We think the market may still have a chance to collect itself and work toward the $3.25 mark we've been anticipating, but Tuesday's volatility does warn that the recent uptrend has become unstable."

Near term, gas buyers will have some cooler temperatures and active weather systems to deal with Wednesday. According to Wunderground.com, "Disorganized showers and thunderstorms will also develop along a stalled-out frontal boundary extending across the Southeast. Scattered rain and high-elevation snow will trail this system over the central and northern Rockies on Wednesday.

"Meanwhile, cool, dry conditions will spread across the upper Midwest, the Great Lakes and the Northeast as a cold front slides eastward over the western Pacific. Temperatures will be 10 to 15 degrees below normal over the region."

The National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts below-normal heating and cooling requirements for major markets. For the week ended May 23, NWS predicts New England will see a combined 41 total heating and cooling degree days (DD) or 15 below normal. New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania are expected to experience 36 DD, or 11 below normal, and the greater Midwest from Ohio to Wisconsin is anticipated to endure 53 DD, or six below normal.

In overnight Globex trading June crude oil added 59 cents to $58.58/bbl and June RBOB gasoline rose 3 cents to $2.0106/gal.

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