Investing.com - Natural gas futures added to gains during U.S. morning hours on Thursday, hitting a six-week high after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed natural gas supplies fell more-than-expected last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in April traded at USD3.591 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning trade, up 3.5% on the day.
Prices rose by as much as 3.7% earlier in the session to hit a daily high of USD3.602 per million British thermal units.
The April contract traded at USD3.548 prior to the release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration report.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended March 1 fell by 146 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a drop of 134 billion cubic feet.
Inventories fell by 92 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a decline of 107 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.083 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 361 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 269 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 1.814 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 73 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 77 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 123 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 694 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 58 billion cubic feet.
Meanwhile, sentiment on the heating fuel remained upbeat after weather forecasts released earlier continued to point to colder temperatures spreading across the eastern half of the U.S. over the next week.
Bullish speculators are betting on the cold weather boosting late-winter demand for the heating fuel.
The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for heating.
Despite strong gains in recent weeks, market analysts have warned that prices remain vulnerable in the near-term as the coldest part of the winter has effectively passed.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in April rallied 1.2% to trade at USD91.53 a barrel, while heating oil for April delivery added 0.2% to trade at USD2.981 per gallon.
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