U.S. natural gas futures eased on Friday on forecasts for less demand in early November when expected gas price increases will cause power generators to burn more coal and less gas to produce electricity.
That decline came despite the continued rise in liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports and a slowdown in output, which boosted prices to a 20-month high earlier this week.
Front-month gas futures fell 3.2 cents, or 1.1%, to $2.975 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) at 8:41 a.m. EDT (1241 GMT). Earlier in the week, the contract closed at its highest since January 2019.
For the week, the front-month was on track to gain about 7%, putting it up for a fifth week in a row for the first time since November 2018.
Data provider Refinitiv said output in the Lower 48 U.S. states averaged 86.4 billion cubic feet per day (bcfd) so far in October. That would be the lowest in a month since October 2018.
Refinitiv projected average demand would jump from 89.9 bcfd this week to 97.5 bcfd next week before easing to 97.1 bcfd in two weeks when power generators are expected to burn less gas.
The amount of gas flowing to LNG export plants has averaged 7.1 bcfd so far in October, up from 5.7 bcfd in September.
That would be the most in a month since April and puts exports on track to rise for a third month in a row for the first time since February when feedgas hit a record 8.7 bcfd as rising global gas prices prompt buyers to reverse past cargo cancellations.
In the spot market, meanwhile, next-day gas rose to its highest since March 2019 at the AECO hub on cold weather in Alberta and the Henry Hub in Louisiana on rising LNG exports along the Gulf Coast.
(Reporting by Scott DiSavino Editing by Nick Zieminski)29dk2902l