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Natural Gas extends gains on supply data, chilly weather forecasts

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Investing.com - Natural gas futures extended Thursday's gains into Friday, hovering near 20-month highs after official U.S. data revealed that supplies fell more than expected last week.

Weather forecasts calling for below-normal temperatures for portions of the central U.S. also boosted prices.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at USD4.239 per million British thermal units, up 2.40%.

The commodity hit a session low of USD4.152 and a high of USD4.245.

Below-normal temperatures that have gripped much of the eastern U.S. in late winter and early spring have many investors betting that demand may be outstripping supply.

Updated weather forecasts continued to point to below-normal temperatures gripping portions of the central U.S. in the coming days, which would hike up demand for heating in households and offices.

Supply data released Thursday confirmed many suspicions that the cold snap has sent demand pressuring supplies.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended April 5 fell by 14 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a drop of 13 billion cubic feet.

Inventories increased by 11 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a build of 15 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.673 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 804 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 66 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.739 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 92 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 16 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 46 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 736 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 5 billion cubic feet.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May were down 2.67% and trading at USD91.01 a barrel, while heating oil futures for May delivery were down 1.35% at USD2.8601 per gallon.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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