- Natural gas futures extended gains to hit a one-week high on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies fell more than expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May rose to a session high of $4.476 per million British thermal units, the most since March 19.

Natural gas futures last traded at $4.466 during U.S. morning hours, up 1.62%, or 7.1 cents. Futures traded at $4.424 prior to the release of the supply data.

The May contract shed 0.43%, or 1.9 cents, on Wednesday to settle at $4.395 per million British thermal units.

Futures were likely to find support at $4.263 per million British thermal units, the low from March 25 and resistance at $4.503, the high from March 19.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended March 21 fell by 57 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a decline of 54 billion cubic feet.

Supplies fell by 90 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier while the five-year average change for the week is a drop of 7 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 896 billion cubic feet, the lowest for this time of year since 2003.

Stocks were 899 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 926 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.822 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 419 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 39 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 378 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 754 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 15 billion cubic feet.

Meanwhile, updated long-term weather-forecasting models called for a return of milder temperatures across most parts of the U.S.

A powerful blast of cold air will shoot across the densely populated U.S. Northeast in the next few days, before warmer temperatures return to the area next week.

Natural gas prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent sessions amid concerns that the arrival of spring will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for heating.

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.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May rose 1.23%, or $1.23, to trade at $101.49 a barrel, while heating oil for May delivery advanced 0.82% to trade at $2.941 per gallon.

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