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U.S. natural gas futures rise to 3-week high after weekly storage data

Published 07/20/2017, 10:53 AM
Updated 07/20/2017, 10:53 AM
© Reuters.  U.S. natural gas futures rise after weekly storage data - U.S. natural gas futures rose to a fresh three-week high on Thursday, after data showed that domestic supplies in storage rose less than anticipated last week.

U.S. natural gas for August delivery rose to a session high of $3.110 per million British thermal units, its highest since June 29. It was last at $3.085 by 10:50AM ET (1450GMT), up 1.9 cents, or around 0.6%. Futures were at around $3.110 prior to the release of the supply data.

Prices finished lower for the first time in four sessions on Wednesday.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 28 billion cubic feet in the week ended July 14, below forecasts for a build of 32 billion.

That compared with a gain of 57 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, an increase of 34 billion a year earlier and a five-year average rise of 59 billion cubic feet.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.973 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 9.1% lower than levels at this time a year ago but 4.6% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models pointed to increased summer demand in the coming weeks.

Hot high pressure over the western, central, and southern U.S. will strengthen and expand as the week progresses, eventually dominating almost the entire country besides the far northern U.S. with highs of upper 80s to 100s for strong national demand.

Longer-term models showed the western, central and southern U.S. will be hot with highs of upper 80s to 100s through August 1, due to strong high pressure.

Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on summer cooling demand.

Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for cooling.

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