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Natural Gas Prices May Decline on Mild Weather, Survey Shows

April 12 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures may decline next week as moderating weather cuts demand for the heating fuel, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Seven of 12 analysts, or 58 percent, forecast that gas futures will fall on the New York Mercantile Exchange through April 19. Three, or 25 percent, said futures will stay the same and two predicted that prices will rise. Last week, 53 percent of participants said gas prices would drop. Gas has climbed 24 percent this year as cold winter weather spurred demand.

Temperatures will be mostly normal in the Northeast and Great Lakes region from April 16 through April 20, according to Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland. The low in Cleveland on April 17 may be 43 degrees Fahrenheit (6 Celsius), matching the usual reading, AccuWeather Inc.’s website showed.

“It’s warmer, there’s less demand and power generation appears to be lower,” said Gordy Elliott, a risk-management specialist at INTL FCStone Inc. in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. “This rally has been significant and we are due for a breather.”

Natural gas for May delivery climbed 9.7 cents, or 2.4 percent, to settle at $4.222 per million British thermal units this week on the New York exchange.

The gas survey has correctly forecast the direction of prices 50 percent of the time since its June 2004 introduction.

Bloomberg’s survey of natural-gas analysts and traders asks for an assessment of whether Nymex natural-gas futures will probably rise, fall or remain neutral in the coming week. This week’s results were:

RISE FALL NEUTRAL

2 7 3

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Buurma in New York at Cbuurma1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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