Investing.com - U.S. natural gas futures edged higher in North America trade on Thursday, despite data showing that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. rose more than expected last week.
Natural gas for delivery in August on the New York Mercantile Exchange inched up 1.3 cents, or 0.47%, to trade at $2.750 per million British thermal units by 13:34GMT, or 9:34AM ET. Prices were at around $2.744 prior to the release of the supply data.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended July 8 rose by 64 billion cubic feet, above forecasts for an increase of 59 billion.
That compared with builds of 39 billion cubic feet in the prior week, 98 billion a year earlier and a five-year average of 77 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.243 trillion cubic feet, 15.6% higher than levels at this time a year ago and 18.1% above the five-year average for this time of year.
Unless intense summer heat boosts demand from power plants, stockpiles will test physical storage limits of 4.3 trillion cubic feet at the end of October.
Futures are up nearly 45% since late May as expectations have grown that hot summer weather will lead to heavy demand.
Gas use typically hits a seasonal low with spring's mild temperatures, before warmer weather increases demand for gas-fired electricity generation to power air conditioning.
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