Investing.com - Natural gas futures soared in afternoon trading on Friday after weather forecasting services predicted below-normal temperatures to arrive in the central plains and Midwest states next week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at USD4.106 per million British thermal units, up 4.04%.
The commodity hit a session low of USD3.932 and a high of USD4.122.
MDA Weather Services predicted earlier that colder-than-normal temperatures will grip the northern and central reaches of the country next week and push up demand for heating.
Elsewhere, warmer-than-normal temperatures predicted to arrive in the southeastern U.S. may prompt more households and businesses to run up their air conditioners and demand more natural gas as well.
Goldman Sachs, meanwhile, hiked its price estimate for this year by USD0.65 to an average USD4.40 per million British thermal units due to abnormally cold weather in March, which fueled the rally as well.
Supply data released on Thursday also supported prices.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report released earlier that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended March 29 fell by 94 billion cubic feet, largely in line with market expectations for a drop of 91 billion cubic feet.
Inventories increased by 43 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a build of 4 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.687 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 779 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 37 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.724 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 76 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 48 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 29 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 724 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 42 billion cubic feet.
U.S. Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May were down 0.66% and trading at USD92.64 a barrel, while heating oil futures for May delivery were down 1.36% at USD2.9232 per gallon.