Investing.com - Natural gas futures dropped in afternoon trading on Thursday after investors bet that below-normal temperatures that have hovered over the central and eastern reaches of the U.S. will eventually give way to springtime weather patterns.
Investors shrugged off bullish supply data and sold on the notion that cooler temperatures and falling inventories have now been priced into the market.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at USD4.037 per million British thermal units, down 0.77%.
The commodity hit a session low of USD3.974 and a high of USD4.120.
Weather forecasting models that called for a chilly end to winter have repeatedly extended their frigid forecasts into late March and early April.
By Thursday, prices had risen to levels ripe for profit taking amid sentiment that eventually, colder temperatures will give way to seasonal warming trends.
Investors shrugged off bullish inventory figures on sentiment that falling stockpiles were already priced into trading strategies along with the current cold snap gripping the heavily populated eastern half of the country.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended March 22 fell by 95 billion cubic feet, outpacing expectations for a drop of 87 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1,781 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 642 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 61 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 1.720 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 41 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 73 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 30 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 707 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 17 billion cubic feet.
U.S. Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May were up 0.70% and trading at USD97.26 a barrel, while heating oil futures for May delivery were up 0.59% at USD3.0546 per gallon.
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