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Natural gas futures turn higher in choppy trade after U.S. supply data

CommoditiesDec 06, 2012 10:44AM ET
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Investing.com - Natural gas futures turned higher to hit a one-week high during U.S. morning hours on Thursday, after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed natural gas supplies fell more-than-expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in January traded at USD3.720 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning trade, up 0.5% on the day.       

It earlier rose by as much as 1.2% to trade at a session high of USD3.745 per million British thermal units, the strongest level since November 13.

The January contract traded at USD3.677 prior to the release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration report.  

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended November 30 fell by 73 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a decline of 64 billion cubic feet.

Inventories fell by 14 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a decline of 51 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.804 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 33 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 168 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 3.636 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 16 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 56 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 130 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 1.143 billion cubic feet, after a net withdrawal of 14 billion cubic feet.

Meanwhile, natural gas traders continued to focus on shifting weather forecasts for the next few weeks to gauge the strength of U.S. heating demand.  

The Commodity Weather Group said earlier that mild temperatures are likely to give way to widespread cold in over the next 11-to-15 days as winter weather descends further south and east than earlier forecasts.

Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting forecasts for early-December on heating demand.

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

Natural gas futures touched a 14-month high of USD4.001 per million British thermal units on November 26, amid expectations of a cold winter and an increase in heating demand.

But prices fell sharply after forecasters revised their weather outlooks for the period, saying early December temperatures should be warmer-than-normal.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in January tumbled 2.1% to trade at USD86.00 a barrel, while heating oil for January delivery fell 0.85% to trade at USD2.965 per gallon.

Natural gas futures turn higher in choppy trade after U.S. supply data

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