Forexpros - Last week saw natural gas futures tumble to a five-month low on Friday, as ample U.S. supplies, moderating weather forecasts in the U.S. and concerns over the U.S. economic recovery pressured prices lower.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in September settled at USD3.954 per million British thermal units by close of trade on Friday, plunging 4.35% over the week, the third consecutive weekly decline.
It earlier fell to USD3.901 per million British thermal units, the lowest price since March 16.
Natural gas prices tumbled nearly 3.6% on Thursday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 44 billion cubic feet last week, above expectations for an increase of 39 billion cubic feet.
Stockpiles advanced by 29 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a buildup of 47 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.758 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 186 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 68 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.826 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
Meanwhile, the Commodity Weather Group said Friday that while it forecast above-normal temperatures in parts of the Central U.S. states in its six-to-10 day forecast, less intense heat was expected in the U.S. Midwest and East during the period.
Demand for natural gas tends to fluctuate in the summer based on hot weather and air conditioning use.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Labor said on Friday that nonfarm payrolls rose by 117,000 in July, above expectations for an increase of 95,000, while the previous month's figure was revised up to a gain of 46,000 from a previously reported 18,000.
The unemployment rate dipped unexpectedly to 9.1% from 9.2%, the first decline in four months.
However, the better-than-expected data failed to ease fears that the U.S. economic recovery was stalling, after a flurry of weak data earlier in the week fuelled concerns over a possible double-dip recession.
Elsewhere on the Nymex, light sweet crude oil futures for September delivery traded at USD87.08 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, dropping 9.5% over the week, while heating oil for September delivery sank 5.1% on the week to trade at USD2.946 a gallon.