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Natural Gas Declines on Outlook for Below-Average Supply Drop

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Jan. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas fell in New York, heading for a second consecutive weekly decline, before a government report that may show a below-average U.S. inventory drop.

Gas slid as much as 1.6 percent. Energy Information Administration data will probably show stockpiles fell by 114 billion cubic feet last week, based on the median of 20 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The five-year average decrease for the period is 121 billion and supplies dropped by 126 billion the same time last year.

“The big trend has been that we have been on this record pace of withdrawals and then all of the sudden last week we saw a dramatic slowdown,” said Teri Viswanath, director of commodities strategy at BNP Paribas SA in New York. “As we transition into January, it’s very difficult for the weekly injections to exceed the five-year average because January is typically so cold. It’s really that story the market is reacting to.”

Natural gas for February delivery fell 5.3 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $4.268 per million British thermal units at 9:18 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was 39 percent below the 100-day average. Gas is down 3.2 percent this week and up 33 percent from a year ago.

To contact the reporter on this story: Naureen S. Malik in New York at nmalik28@bloomberg.net

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

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