Investing.com - Natural gas prices shot up on Thursday after official data released earlier revealed that U.S. inventories took a surprising drop last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in January traded at USD4.087 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 3.19%.
The commodity hit a session low of USD3.952 and a high of USD4.090.
The January contract settled down 0.40% at USD3.960 per million British thermal units on Wednesday.
Futures were likely to find support at USD3.952 per million British thermal units, the earlier low, and resistance at USD4.229, the high from May 29.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration reported earlier that total U.S. gas inventories fell last week by 162 billion cubic feet to 3.614 trillion cubic feet, well above consensus forecasts for a drop of 138 billion cubic feet.
In the week before last, natural gas in storage fell by 13 billion cubic feet compared to expectations for a withdrawal of 10 billion cubic feet.
Stocks fell 62 billion cubic feet during the same week a year earlier.
Elsewhere, weather forecasts supported prices as well.
Below-normal temperatures should maintain their grip over much of the country over the next two weeks.
Colder temperatures hike the need for heating this time of year, thus increasing demand for natural gas at the nation's thermal power generators.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in January were up 0.64% and trading at USD97.82 a barrel, while heating oil for January delivery were down 0.32% and trading at USD3.0495 per gallon.