Investing.com - Natural gas futures extended Thursday's gains
into Friday in wake of U.S. government reports revealing
inventories fell more than expected last week.
Forecasts for lower temperatures to settle in across much of the
U.S. pushed up prices as well.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for
delivery in February traded at USD3.574 per million British thermal
units, up 2.28%.
The commodity hit a session low of USD3.474 and a high of USD3.576.
A winter storm that ploughed across much of the heavily populated
eastern U.S. earlier and has prompted weather forecasters to
predict dry but cooler air to settle in its wake, which was bullish
for natural gas.
Natural gas futures are very sensitive to weather reports in the
The U.S. heating season running from November through March sees
peak demand for gas.
About half of U.S. households use gas for heating purposes,
according to Energy Department data.
The commodity continued to see support from official data pointing
to declining stockpiles.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly
report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended Jan.
11 fell by 148 billion cubic feet compared to market expectations
for a decline of 136 billion cubic feet, which took many market
participants by surprise.
Inventories fell by 89 billion cubic feet in the same week a year
earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a
decline of 144 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.168 trillion cubic feet
as of last week. Stocks were 147 billion cubic feet less than last
year at this time and 316 billion cubic feet above the five-year
average of 2.852 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 92 billion
cubic feet above the five-year average, following net withdrawals
of 86 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 156 billion cubic feet above
the five-year average of 957 billion cubic feet, after a net
withdrawal of 39billion cubic feet.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery
in March were down 0.02% and trading at USD95.92 a barrel, while
heating oil for February delivery were up 0.93% and trading at
USD3.0494 per gallon.
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