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Natural gas futures off the highs after storage data

CommoditiesMar 05, 2015 10:33AM ET
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© Reuters. U.S. natural gas futures trim gains after storage report

Investing.com - Natural gas futures trimmed gains on Thursday, despite data showing that U.S. natural gas supplies fell more than expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in April edged up 1.5 cents, or 0.52%, to trade at $2.784 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours. Prices were at around $2.812 prior to the release of the supply data.

Futures were likely to find support at $2.641 per million British thermal units, the low from March 3, and resistance at $2.888, the high from February 26.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended February 27 fell by 228 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a decline of 222 billion.

The five-year average change for the week is a decline of 115 billion cubic feet, while supplies fell by 189 billion the same time last year.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.710 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 492 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 143 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.853 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

A day earlier, natural gas for delivery in April rallied 5.7 cents, or 2.1%, to settle at $2.769, as a blast of frigid winter weather was expected to boost near-term fuel demand.

According to weather forecasting models, the Eastern half of the U.S. was expected to see heavy snow and freezing temperatures through March 7, in what was expected to be the last major system of the winter.

Bullish speculators are betting that colder weather will increase demand for the heating fuel. Approximately 49% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

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

Elsewhere on the Nymex, crude oil for delivery in April shed 6 cents, or 0.12%, to trade at $51.47 a barrel, while heating oil for April delivery slumped 0.79% to trade at $1.886 per gallon.

Natural gas futures off the highs after storage data
 

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