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Natural gas futures - weekly outlook: April 6 - 10

Published 04/05/2015, 10:37 AM
© Reuters.  U.S. natural gas futures end the week higher after bullish storage data
- - Natural gas futures rose sharply on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies fell more than expected last week.

Commodity markets remained closed on Friday for Good Friday.

Ahead of Friday’s holiday, natural gas for delivery in May jumped 10.8 cents, or 4.15%, to settle at $2.713 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Futures were likely to find support at $2.583 per million British thermal units, the low from April 1, and resistance at $2.775, the high from March 26.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. fell by 18 billion cubic feet last week, compared to expectations for a decline of 10 billion and following a 12 billion cubic feet rise in the preceding week.

Supplies fell by 71 billion cubic feet in the same week last year, while the five-year average change is a decline of 22 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.461 trillion cubic feet as of last week, 75.4% above year-ago levels and 11.5% below the five-year average for this time of year.

Last spring, supplies were 55% below the five-year average, indicating producers have made up for most of last winter’s unusually strong demand.

For the week, the May natural gas contract rose 8.9 cents, or 2.8%.

Gains are likely to remain limited in the week ahead as the coldest part of the winter has effectively passed and below-normal temperatures in April mean less than they do in January and February.

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Spring usually sees the weakest demand for natural gas in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.

Approximately 49% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Meanwhile, the Energy Information Administration's next storage report slated for release on Thursday, April 9 is expected to show a build of approximately 5 billion cubic feet for the week ending April 3.

Supplies fell by 8 billion cubic feet in the same week last year, while the five-year average change is a decline of 2 billion cubic feet.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, crude oil for May delivery settled at $49.14 a barrel by close of trade on Thursday, up 57 cents, or 0.55%, on the week, while heating oil for May delivery lost 2.27% on the week to settle at $1.665 per gallon.

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