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Natural gas futures inch lower as profit-taking weighs

CommoditiesDec 11, 2013 10:03AM ET
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Natural gas futures inch lower as profit-taking weighs - Natural gas futures inched lower on Wednesday, as investors cashed out of the market to lock in gains from a recent rally which took prices to the highest level in more than six months on Tuesday.

Market participants also looked ahead to Thursday’s closely-watched U.S. supply data to gauge the strength of demand from U.S. households.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in January traded at USD4.220 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning trade, down 0.4%. Nymex January gas futures traded in a range between USD4.175 per million British thermal units and USD4.262.

The January contract rallied to USD4.287 per million British thermal units on Tuesday, the highest level since May 28, before trimming gains to settle at USD4.237, up 0.12%.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.139 per million British thermal units, the low from December 9 and resistance at USD4.287, the high from December 10.

Natural gas prices have been well-supported in recent weeks as weather forecasting models pointed to frigid temperatures across most parts of the U.S. Northeast. The U.S. Northeast is a key gas-heating area.

Bullish speculators bet that colder weather will increase demand for the heating fuel. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.

Meanwhile, U.S. supply levels remained in focus. Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.614 trillion cubic feet as last week, more than 5% below last year's unusually high level and nearly 3% below the five-year average for this time of year.

Early withdrawal estimates for Thursday’s storage data range from a draw of 75 billion cubic feet to 86 billion cubic feet, compared to a drop of 8 billion cubic feet during the same week a year earlier.

The five-year average change for the week is a decline of 76 billion cubic feet.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in January fell 0.5% to trade at USD98.03 a barrel, while heating oil for January delivery dipped 0.25% to trade at USD3.009 per gallon.

Natural gas futures inch lower as profit-taking weighs

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