Investing.com - Natural gas futures were higher for the first time in three sessions on Wednesday, as market players continued to monitor winter weather forecasts to gauge demand for the fuel.
U.S. natural gas futures were up 4.4 cents, or around 1.5%, to $2.958 per million British thermal units by 8:40AM ET (1340GMT), after plunging 7.1 cents, or 2.4%, a day earlier.
Prices extended their decline into a second session on Tuesday, as updated weather forecasts showed a return to mild weather after a cold spell in the eastern U.S.
Natural gas futures have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on early-winter heating demand.
Prices of the fuel typically rise ahead of the winter as colder weather sparks heating demand. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.
Meanwhile, investors looked ahead to weekly data from the U.S. on gas supplies in storage. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) will release its official weekly natural gas storage report for the week ended Dec. 1 at 10:30AM ET (1530GMT) Thursday, amid expectations for a withdrawal in a range between 3 and 12 billion cubic feet (bcf).
That compares with a drop of 33 bcf in the preceding week, a fall of 42 bcf a year earlier and a five-year average decline of 69 bcf.
Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.693 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That figure is 309 bcf, or around 7.7%, lower than levels at this time a year ago and 107 bcf, or roughly 2.8%, below the five-year average for this time of year.
Analysts estimated the amount of gas in storage would end the April-October injection season at 3.8 tcf due primarily to higher liquefied natural gas shipments abroad. That would fall short of the year-earlier record of 4.0 tcf and the five-year average of 3.9 tcf.
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