* Above-normal temperatures on tap for much of the nation * Nuclear plant outages slip back below average * Coming Up: EIA natgas storage data on Thursday By Eileen Houlihan NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) ...
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U.S. natgas futures jump to 2-week high overnight on more heat
* Nuclear plant outages slip back below average
* Coming Up: EIA natgas storage data on Thursday
By Eileen Houlihan
NEW YORK, July 10 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures jumped more than 1 percent to a more than two-week spot chart high early on Wednesday, boosted by revised forecasts for continued hot weather over much of the nation for the next several days and weeks, traders said.
But they also noted Tropical Storm Chantal had weakened overnight, while nuclear power plant outages slid back below average, both likely to add some downward pressure to prices.
Chantal moved toward the Dominican Republic and possibly Haiti early on Wednesday, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said. The storm was still not expected to move into the Gulf of Mexico and upset offshore energy production.
As of 9:14 a.m. EDT (1314 GMT), front-month August natural gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange were at $3.71 per million British thermal units, up 5.3 cents, or a little more than 1 percent.
The contract rose as high as $3.787 in electronic trade, its highest mark since late June. It hit a nearly 4-month low of $3.526 on June 28.
Forecaster MDA Weather Services showed a large swath of above-normal temperatures in its one to five-day forecast map blanketing the mid-Continent, with some below-normal readings in the Southeast.
The latest National Weather Service six to 10-day forecast issued Tuesday called for above-normal temperatures on the West Coast and in the Northeast, stretching to parts of the upper-Midwest. Normal or below-normal readings were on tap for the remainder of the nation including Texas and the Southeast.
Last week's gas storage report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed total domestic inventories rose in the prior week by 72 billion cubic feet.
Total gas inventories at 2.605 trillion cubic feet are about 16 percent below last year's record-high level, but only 1 percent below the five-year average level.
Early injection estimates for Thursday's weekly storage report range from 75 bcf to 99 bcf, versus a 34 bcf build during the same week last year and a five-year average increase for that week of 74 bcf.
Nuclear plant outages on Wednesday totaled just 4,000 megawatts, or 4 percent of U.S. capacity, down from 5,400 MW out on Tuesday, 6,800 MW out a year ago and a five-year average outage rate of 4,200 MW.
(Editing by Nick Zieminski)
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