Investing.com - Natural gas futures added to sharp losses during U.S. morning hours on Thursday, after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed natural gas supplies fell less-than-expected last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in February traded at USD3.253 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning trade, down 2.45% on the day.
It earlier fell by as much as 2.7% to trade at a session low of USD3.244 per million British thermal units.
The January contract traded at USD3.327 prior to the release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration report.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended January 25 fell by 194 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a drop of 206 billion cubic feet.
Inventories fell by 149 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a decline of 178 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.802 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 202 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 304 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 2.498 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 102 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 129 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 153 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 860 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 47 billion cubic feet.
Meanwhile, natural gas traders continued to closely track weather forecasts for the next few weeks in an attempt to gauge the strength of winter heating demand.
Updated weather forecasts released earlier called for above-normal readings for most of the U.S. with near-normal temperatures along both coasts.
Bearish speculators are betting on the mild weather reducing winter demand for the heating fuel.
The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for heating.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in March fell 0.7% to trade at USD97.25 a barrel, while heating oil for March delivery dipped 0.2% to trade at USD3.102 per gallon.