Natural gas futures extend losses after bearish supply data


Shutterstock photo - - Natural gas futures extended heavy losses on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies fell less than expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in April fell to a session low of $4.359 per million British thermal units, the weakest level since March 14.

Nymex natural gas prices last traded at $4.393 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours, down 2.03%, or 9.1 cents. Futures traded at $4.425 prior to the release of the supply data.

The April contract picked up 0.63%, or 2.8 cents, on Wednesday to settle at $4.484 per million British thermal units.

Futures were likely to find support at $4.341 per million British thermal units, the low from March 14 and resistance at $4.504, the high from March 19.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended March 14 fell by 48 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a decline of 59 billion cubic feet.

Supplies fell by 74 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier while the five-year average change for the week is a drop of 30 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 953 billion cubic feet, the lowest for this time of year since 2004.

Stocks were 932 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 876 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.829 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 399 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 35 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 351 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 742 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 11 billion cubic feet.

Market analysts have warned that prices remain vulnerable to even further losses in the near-term amid concerns that the arrival of spring will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for heating.

Updated weather forecasting models showed that temperatures will be mostly normal in parts of the Midwest and Southeast through March 22 before turning colder.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May was flat to trade at $99.17 a barrel, while heating oil for April delivery rose 0.38% to trade at $2.912 per gallon. offers an extensive set of professional tools for the financial markets.
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This article appears in: Investing Forex and Currencies
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