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Natural gas futures - Weekly review: August 22 - 26

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Forexpros - Last week saw natural gas futures edge higher on Friday, amid concerns Hurricane Irene would disrupt production in the U.S. and as investors readjusted positions ahead of the expiration of the September contract on Monday.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in September settled at USD3.957 per million British thermal units by close of trade on Friday, jumping 1.59% over the week.

The September natural gas contract is due to expire at the end of trading on Monday, August 29.

Meanwhile, the more actively traded contract for October delivery settled at USD3.943, gaining 1.21% on the week.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said on Friday that Hurricane Irene made landfall along the North Carolina coast, as it headed north towards the U.S. Northeast. Forecasters expected the storm to arrive in the New Jersey-New York area on Sunday.

Energy traders track tropical storm activity in the event it could damage production facilities in the U.S. and prompt natural gas producers to shut down refineries.

Natural gas prices were also supported after the Commodity Weather Group forecast unseasonably warm weather across most of the Midwestern U.S. states over the next six-to-ten days.

The weather group said in a report on Friday that weather trends will be in the "hotter direction" in the coming week, while adding that the "hottest anomalies may wait until the Labor Day holiday weekend" on Saturday, September 3.

Demand for natural gas tends to fluctuate in the summer based on hot weather and air conditioning use.

On Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 73 billion cubic feet last week, slightly below expectations for an increase of 75 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.906 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 140 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 55 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.961 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, light sweet crude oil futures for October delivery traded at USD85.47 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, gaining 3.75% over the week, while heating oil for September delivery advanced 2.65% on the week to trade at USD3.001 a gallon.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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