Investing.com - Natural gas futures posted strong gains on Thursday after data revealed U.S. inventories rose less than expected last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in September traded at $3.928 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 2.53%. The commodity hit a session low of $3.800, and a high of $3.938.
The September contract settled down 3.60% on Wednesday to end at $3.931 per million British thermal units.
Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $3.725 per million British thermal units, the low from July 28, and resistance at $4.020, Tuesday's high.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ending Aug. 8 rose by 78 billion cubic feet, below expectations for an increase of 83 billion cubic feet.
Inventories rose by 70 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change is a build of 45 billion cubic feet.
Injections of gas into storage have surpassed the five-year average for 17 consecutive weeks, alleviating concerns over tightening supplies.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.467 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 530 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 575 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 3.042 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
Forecasts for warm, summertime temperatures supported the commodity as well, with markets expecting households to run up their air conditioning and prompt thermal power plants to burn more of the commodity to meet the demand.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in September were down 1.78% at $95.85 a barrel, while heating oil for September delivery were down 2.43% at $2.8314 per gallon.
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