U.S. natural gas edges higher

U.S. natural gas futures edged higher on Thursday, despite data showing that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. rose more than expected last week.

For June delivery ticked up 1.3 cents, or around 0.4%, to $3.205 per million British thermal units by 10:35AM ET (14:35GMT).

Futures were at around $3.192 prior to the release of the supply data before falling to a session low of $3.168, the weakest level since May 8.

Prices of the heating fell 3.8 cents on Wednesday amid bearish weather forecasts.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 68 billion cubic feet in the week ended May 12, above forecasts for a build of 61 billion.

That compared with a gain of 45 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, an increase of 73 billion a year earlier and a five-year average rise of 87 billion cubic feet.

Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.369 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 13.6% lower than levels at this time a year ago but 10.8% above the five-year average for this time of year.

Meanwhile, the latest U.S. weather model called for mild temperatures over the next two weeks, which should reduce demand during that time.

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

Gas use typically hits a seasonal low with spring’s mild temperatures, before warmer weather increases demand for gas-fired electricity generation to power air conditioning.

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

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