Forexpros - Last week saw natural gas futures bounce off a five-month low on Friday, as forecasts showed warmer-than-normal weather was expected to return to the southern U.S. states next week, boosting demand expectations for the fuel.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in September settled at USD3.936 per million British thermal units by close of trade on Friday, slumping 1.8% over the week, the fourth weekly decline in the past five weeks.
Natural gas prices have traded below the psychologically important USD4.00 level in 11 of the past 12 sessions.
On Thursday, natural gas futures tumbled to a five-month low of USD3.844 after the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 50 billion cubic feet last week, slightly above expectations for an increase of 49 billion cubic feet.
More importantly, the supply gain was significantly higher than the 28 billion cubic feet increase in the same week a year earlier, as well as the five-year average buildup of 43 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.833 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 175 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 73 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.906 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
On Friday, prices regained ground after the Commodity Weather Group forecast above-average temperatures across the southern U.S. states from August 24 to August 28.
According to weather service provider AccuWeather, the high temperature in Houston on August 27 will be 102 degrees Fahrenheit (39 Celsius), nine degrees above normal.
Demand for natural gas tends to fluctuate in the summer based on hot weather and air conditioning use.
Meanwhile, fears over a disruption to supplies in the Gulf of Mexico supported prices after the U.S. National Hurricane Center said that a tropical wave located nearly 200 miles northeast of Nicaragua had an 80% chance of developing into a tropical cyclone in the next 48 hours.
Energy traders track tropical weather activity in the event that it disrupts production in the Gulf of Mexico, home to about 12% of natural gas output.
Elsewhere on the Nymex, light sweet crude oil futures for October delivery traded at USD82.74 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, dropping 3.65% over the week, while heating oil for September delivery advanced 0.78% on the week to trade at USD2.925 a gallon.
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