- Natural gas futures extended strong gains from last week on Monday, as cold weather hit the eastern U.S., boosting heating demand.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in March rose to a session high of USD5.470 per million British thermal units, the most since February 5.

Nymex gas prices last traded at USD5.417 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours, up 3.85%.

The March contract settled 0.17% lower on Friday to settle at USD5.214 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.818 per million British thermal units, the low from February 13 and resistance at USD5.734, the high from February 5.

Trade volumes were expected to remain light on Monday, with Nymex floor trading remaining closed for the U.S. President’s Day holiday. All electronic trades placed will register on Tuesday, when the market resumes normal trading hours.

Nymex natural gas prices surged 8.41% last week, the first weekly gain in three weeks, 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.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Speculation that this week’s supply data will show a larger-than-average drawdown in supplies also lent support. Early withdrawal estimates range from 212 billion cubic feet to 240 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.686 trillion cubic feet as of last week, the lowest for this time of year since 2004.

Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers increased their bullish bets in natural gas futures in the week ending February 11.

Net longs totaled 163,943 contracts, up 7.6% from net longs of 151,338 in the previous week.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in April rose 0.4% to trade at USD100.54 a barrel, while heating oil for March delivery added 0.45% to trade at USD3.092 per gallon.

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