Investing.com - Natural gas futures rose in afternoon trading on Thursday, approaching 20-month highs after official U.S. data revealed that supplies fell more than expected last week.
Weather forecasts calling for below-normal temperatures for portions of the central U.S. also bolstered prices.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at USD4.119 per million British thermal units, up 0.82%.
The commodity hit a session low of USD4.048 and a high of USD4.181.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended April 5 fell by 14 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a drop of 13 billion cubic feet.
Inventories increased by 11 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a build of 15 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.673 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 804 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 66 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.739 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 92 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 16 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 46 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 736 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 5 billion cubic feet.
Natural gas prices were lower earlier despite weather forecasts pointing to below-normal temperatures in the key Northeast market in the next six-to-10-days.
Meanwhile, weather forecasts called for a return of below-normal temperatures for central portions of the U.S. in the coming days, which pushed up prices even further.
U.S. Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May were down 1.54% and trading at USD93.18 a barrel, while heating oil futures for May delivery were down 1.91% at USD2.8916 per gallon.
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