Investing.com - Natural gas futures posted strong gains on Wednesday amid expectations that Thursday''s weekly supply report will reveal that recent blasts of cold air in the U.S. have taken their toll on the country''s inventories.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in March traded at USD5.091 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 3.03%. The commodity hit session high of USD5.094 and a low of USD4.807.
The March contract settled up 5.71% on Monday to end at USD4.941 per million British thermal units.
Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.652 per million British thermal units, Monday''s low, and resistance at USD5.198, Monday''s high.
Recent blasts of cold air sweeping across the U.S. have prompted businesses and homes to crank up their heating to the point that the country''s thermal power plants have burned more natural gas to meet the demand, Thursday''s supply data should reveal.
Early withdrawal estimates for Thursday’s storage data range from 170 billion cubic feet to 239 billion cubic feet, compared to a drop of 191 billion cubic feet during the same week a year earlier.
The five-year average change for the week is a decline of 162 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.423 trillion cubic feet as of last week, approximately 13% below the five-year average for this time of year.
Natural-gas inventories have fallen by 1.411 trillion cubic feet since November 8 as frigid winter temperatures in the U.S. led households to burn a higher than normal amount of the fuel in furnaces to heat their homes.
Some expect supplies at the end of the winter heating season in March to be at their lowest in six years.
Meanwhile, chilly forecasts pressured prices up as well.
Below-normal temperatures should hover over much of the country through early February.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in March were down 0.47% and trading at USD96.95 a barrel, while heating oil for March delivery were up 0.67% and trading at USD3.0140 per gallon.