Investing.com - Natural gas futures rallied on Monday amid sentiments that weeks of colder-than-normal temperatures across much of the U.S. coupled with talk of a late end to winter will chip away at the country's stockpiles and push up prices.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in April traded at USD3.913 per million British thermal units, up 1.07%.
The commodity hit a session low of USD3.889 and a high of USD3.965.
Weather forecasting models continue to call for chilly temperatures sticking around for the heavily populated eastern half of the U.S. in the next six to ten days.
Industry weather group MDA Weather Services forecasted below-normal temperatures to keep their grip for most of the country for the rest of March.
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.
Last week's official inventory data surprised markets on the upside, and talk of even further dwindling push up prices on Monday.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Thursday that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended March 8 fell by 145 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a drop of 134 billion cubic feet.
Inventories fell by 66 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week represented a decline of 74 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.938 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 440 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 198 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 1.740 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 38 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 92 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 85 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 684 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 48 billion cubic feet.
U.S. Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in April were up 0.09% and trading at USD93.53 a barrel, while heating oil futures for April delivery were down 0.62% and trading at USD2.9207 per gallon.