Investing.com - U.S. natural gas futures rose to a four-week high on Friday, as market players prepped for the arrival of warmer-than-normal temperatures in the U.S., which should hike demand for air conditioning.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in July hit a session high of $4.736 per million British thermal units, the most since May 8, before trimming gains to settle at $4.710 by close of trade, up 0.19%, or 0.9 cents.
Natural gas prices jumped 1.31%, or 6.1 cents on Thursday to close at $4.701 per million British thermal units.
Futures were likely to find support at $4.576 per million British thermal units, the low from June 4 and resistance at $4.754, the high from May 8.
Nymex natural gas prices rallied 3.56%, or 16.0 cents on the week, the second consecutive weekly advance.
Updated weather-forecasting models called for above-normal temperatures to settle in across most parts of the lower 48 U.S. states during the next 11-to-15 days.
Demand for natural gas tends to rise in the summer months as warmer temperatures increase the need for gas-fired electricity to power air conditioning.
Prices received additional support amid expectations that a U.S. government proposal to cut greenhouse emissions will boost demand for the fuel.
The Environmental Protection Agency said it was preparing measures that would weigh heavily on U.S. coal-fired generating plants, which would make the U.S. grow increasingly dependent on natural gas to make up the difference.
Market players shrugged off a bearish weekly storage report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, which said that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 119 billion cubic feet, above forecasts for an increase of 116 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.499 trillion cubic feet as of last week, nearly 33% below their level this time last year and 37% below the five-year average.
Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers modestly increased their bullish bets in natural gas futures in the week ending June 3.
Net longs totaled 81,063 contracts, up 2.06% from net longs of 79,385 in the previous week.
Elsewhere in the energy complex, U.S. crude oil for July delivery settled at $102.66 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, down 0.04%, or 5 cents a barrel, on the week.
Meanwhile, heating oil for July delivery slumped 0.55% on the week to settle at $2.876 per gallon by close of trade Friday.
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