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Ongoing Mild Temperatures Forecast; January Called 6 Cents Lower

January natural gas is set to open 6 cents lower Monday morning at $2.13 as traders see no redeeming weather features on the horizon and overnight oil markets plunged.

MDA Weather Services in its morning six-to 10-day outlook said, "The forecast remains warm-dominated in this period; although not to the levels seen in the Sunday report. This is as low pressure coming from the West is able to undercut the prominent eastern U.S. ridge, allowing for warm anomalies to tame.

"Despite this, most areas in the eastern half hold onto above and much above normal temperatures throughout the period, with the warmest conditions coming to the East from early to mid-period. A series of disturbances will continue to keep a focus of troughing over the West, but the primary flow from the Pacific limits how much cold will be seen there."

MDA concedes that there are risks to the forecast in that additional warmth in the East may be seen "especially if low pressure fails to weaken ridging as much as forecast. The South could be cooler late in the period based on some models."

Risk managers are standing aside the market. "Natural Gas settled lower for the week. The January contract made new lows as the weekly storage number failed to push prices higher," said Mike DeVooght, president of DEVO Capital Management, a Colorado-based trading and risk management firm, in a weekend report to clients.

"The short-term weather outlook is calling for moderate temperatures throughout much of the United States. Weak demand, along with record production may push natural gas prices even lower. Fundamentally, the market is very well supplied and until the need for natural gas increases, this trend could continue. On a trading basis, we will stand aside."

Previously, DeVooght had held a long January position at $2.50.

Tom Saal, vice president at FC Stone Latin America LLC, in his work with Market Profile expects the market to test last week's value area at $2.222 to $2.152 followed by a test of $2.337 to $2.269 and $2.557 to $2.465.

In overnight Globex trading January crude oil fell $1.06 to $38.91/bbl and January RBOB gasoline dropped 2 cents to $1.2502/gal.

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