Investing.com - U.S. natural gas prices rallied to a four-month high on Wednesday, as market players monitored near-term weather forecasts to gauge the strength of demand for the fuel ahead of Thursday's closely-watched supply report.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in December rose by as much as 4.3% to touch a session high of $4.314 per million British thermal units, the most since July 7.
Prices came off the highs to last trade at $4.181 during U.S. morning hours, up 5.1 cents, or 1.25%.
A day earlier, natural gas prices surged 8.3 cents, or 2.05%, to settle at $4.129 per million British thermal units, as investors bet that chilly weather across the U.S. will boost early-winter demand for the heating fuel.
Futures were likely to find support at $4.029 per million British thermal units, the low from November 4, and resistance at $4.356, the high from July 7.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration's weekly storage report slated for release on Thursday is expected to show an increase of 80 billion cubic feet for the week ending October 31.
Inventories rose by 35 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change is a build of 42 billion cubic feet.
Natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 87 billion cubic feet last week.
Injections of gas into storage have surpassed the five-year average for 28 consecutive weeks, alleviating concerns over tightening supplies.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.480 trillion cubic feet as of last week, narrowing the deficit to the five-year average to 8.2% from 9.1% in the preceding week and from a record 54.7% at the end of March.
Meanwhile, Updated weather-forecasting models called for unusually cold temperatures across the eastern half of the U.S. from November 8 through November 17.
Bullish speculators are betting on the chilly weather to increase early-winter demand for the heating fuel. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.
The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.
Elsewhere on the Nymex, crude oil for delivery in December inched up 58 cents, or 0.75%, to trade at $77.77 a barrel, while heating oil for December delivery dipped 0.11% to trade at $2.439 per gallon.
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