Investing.com - Natural gas futures ended Friday’s session down sharply, as market players focused on rising inventory levels amid an uncertain demand outlook.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in July tumbled 1.9% on Friday to settle the week at USD3.793 per million British thermal units.
Earlier in the session, Nymex gas prices fell to a session low of USD3.766 per million British thermal units, the weakest level since June 17.
Despite Friday’s downbeat performance, the front-month July contract rose 1.3% on the week, the first weekly advance in four.
Sentiment on the commodity remained downbeat following Thursday’s bearish U.S. supply report, which showed that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 91 billion cubic feet, above market expectations for an increase of 90 billion.
Inventories rose by 63 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a rise of 80 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood 2.438 trillion cubic feet as of last week, 1.9% below the five-year average for this time of year.
Early injection estimates for this week’s storage data range from 75 billion cubic feet to 95 billion cubic feet, compared to a 58 billion cubic feet increase during the same week a year earlier.
The five-year average for the week is a build of 79 billion cubic feet.
Meanwhile, an uncertain demand outlook also weighed after weather forecasting models pointed to cooler temperatures across most of the U.S. over the next six-to-ten days.
Demand for natural gas tends to rise in the summer months as warmer temperatures increase the need for gas-fired electricity to power air conditioning.
Natural gas prices rose to a two-week high of USD3.982 per million British thermal units on Wednesday, as forecasts for warmer weather across key parts of the U.S. boosted near-term demand expectations for the fuel.
Elsewhere in the energy complex, light sweet crude oil futures for August delivery settled at a three-week low of USD93.89 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, losing 4.3% on the week.
Meanwhile, heating oil for July delivery fell 4% over the week to settle at USD2.843 per gallon by close of trade Friday.