Investing.com - Natural gas futures carried Thursday''s losses into Friday on weather reports calling for a break in below-normal temperatures that have gripped the U.S. the past week, which should prompt homes and business to scale back on their heating.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in March traded at USD4.798 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, down 2.70%. The commodity hit session high of USD5.043 and a low of USD4.744.
The March contract settled down 1.97% on Thursday to end at USD5.030 per million British thermal units.
Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.723 per million British thermal units, the low from Jan. 31, and resistance at USD5.734, Wednesday''s high.
A series of blizzards and cold air masses freezing much of the U.S. will give way to somewhat below-normal temperatures through the end of next week followed by seasonably mild temperatures through Feb. 21, according to updated weather-forecasting models, which sent natural gas prices falling.
Mild temperatures this time of year curb demand for natural gas at the country''s thermal power plants.
Thursday''s supply data pushed down prices as well.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended January 31 fell by 262 billion cubic feet, missing expectations for a decline of 270 billion cubic feet.
Gas supplies fell by 129 billion cubic feet during the same week a year earlier.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.923 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 778 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 556 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.479 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 312 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 143 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 187 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 889 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 93 billion cubic feet.
Traders were hoping below-normal temperatures gripping much of the U.S. last week would have taken more of a toll on the country''s inventories.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in March were up 1.25% and trading at USD99.06 a barrel, while heating oil for March delivery were up 1.62% and trading at USD3.0438 per gallon.