Investing.com - Natural gas futures jumped up in afternoon Tuesday trading as weather models continued to predict below-normal temperatures sticking round over the heavily populated eastern half of the U.S., while power plant outages fueled demand as well
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at USD3.978 per million British thermal units, up 2.33%.
The commodity hit a session low of USD3.889 and a high of USD3.994.
Updated weather forecasting models on Tuesday indicated below-normal temperatures staying in place for most of the eastern half of the U.S. over the next five to ten days, which kept prices on the upswing.
Reports of outages at nuclear power plants across the country pushed up prices as well, as gas-fired power plants churned to make up for supply shortfalls.
The heating season from November through March sees peak demand for U.S. gas consumption.
Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for heating.
Hopes for more bullish supply data due for release on Thursday supported prices as well.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report last week that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended March 15 fell by 62 billion cubic feet, short of market expectations for a drop of 70 billion cubic feet.
Inventory withdrawals were flat in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a decline of 26 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.876 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 502 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 162 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 1.714 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 21 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 47 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 63 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 691 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 15 billion cubic feet.
U.S. Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May were up 1.44% and trading at USD96.17 a barrel, while heating oil futures for May delivery were up 0.46% at USD2.9968 per gallon.
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