Forexpros - Last week saw natural gas futures edge higher on
Friday, amid concerns Hurricane Irene would disrupt production in
the U.S. and as investors readjusted positions ahead of the
expiration of the September contract on Monday.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for
delivery in September settled at USD3.957 per million British
thermal units by close of trade on Friday, jumping 1.59% over the
The September natural gas contract is due to expire at the end of
trading on Monday, August 29.
Meanwhile, the more actively traded contract for October delivery
settled at USD3.943, gaining 1.21% on the week.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Friday that Hurricane
Irene made landfall along the North Carolina coast, as it headed
north towards the U.S. Northeast. Forecasters expected the storm to
arrive in the New Jersey-New York area on Sunday.
Energy traders track tropical storm activity in the event it could
damage production facilities in the U.S. and prompt natural gas
producers to shut down refineries.
Natural gas prices were also supported after the Commodity Weather
Group forecast unseasonably warm weather across most of the
Midwestern U.S. states over the next six-to-ten days.
The weather group said in a report on Friday that weather trends
will be in the "hotter direction" in the coming week, while adding
that the "hottest anomalies may wait until the Labor Day holiday
weekend" on Saturday, September 3.
Demand for natural gas tends to fluctuate in the summer based on
hot weather and air conditioning use.
On Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its
weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 73
billion cubic feet last week, slightly below expectations for an
increase of 75 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.906 trillion cubic feet.
Stocks were 140 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time
and 55 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.961
trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
Elsewhere on the Nymex, light sweet crude oil futures for October
delivery traded at USD85.47 a barrel by close of trade on Friday,
gaining 3.75% over the week, while heating oil for September
delivery advanced 2.65% on the week to trade at USD3.001 a gallon.