Natural gas futures - weekly outlook: May 5 - 9


Shutterstock photo - - U.S. natural gas futures ended Friday's session at a four-day low, as updated weather forecasting models continued to call for slightly warmer than normal temperatures over the next 15 days.

Spring and fall see the weakest demand for natural gas in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in June lost 0.95%, or 4.5 cents, to settle at $4.658 per million British thermal units by close of trade on Friday.

Natural gas fell to $4.672 per million British thermal units earlier in the session, the lowest since April 28.

Futures were likely to find support at $4.648 per million British thermal units, the low from April 28 and resistance at $4.823, the high from May 1.

Natural gas prices tumbled 2% on Thursday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 82 billion cubic feet last week, above forecasts for an increase of 75 billion cubic feet.

Inventories rose by 41 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a build of 58 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at an 11-year low of 981 billion cubic feet. Stocks were 790 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 984 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.965 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

Producers would need to add 2.6 trillion to 2.9 trillion cubic feet to storage by November 1 to meet typical winter demand, analysts said.

Despite losses suffered on Thursday and Friday, Nymex natural gas prices inched up 0.34%, or 1.6 cents for the week.

Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers decreased their bullish bets in natural gas futures in the week ending April 29.

Net longs totaled 113,192 contracts, down 6.68% from net longs of 121,300 in the previous week.

Elsewhere in the energy complex, U.S. crude oil for June delivery settled at $99.76 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, down 0.83%, or 84 cents a barrel, on the week.

Meanwhile, heating oil for June delivery lost 1.91% on the week to settle at $2.923 per gallon by close of trade Friday. 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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