Natural gas futures rose on Friday on speculation that a recent blast of arctic air will take its toll on U.S. inventories, while forecasts for a warming trend to end soon also pressured prices higher.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in February traded at USD4.072 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 1.66%. The commodity hit session high of USD4.099 and a low of USD3.954.
The February contract settled down 5.00% on Thursday to end at USD4.005 per million British thermal units. Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD3.951 per million British thermal units, the low from Dec. 5, and resistance at USD4.428, Tuesday''s high.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended Jan. 3 fell by 157 billion cubic feet, towards the lower end of expectations, especially in wake of a blast of cold air that sent temperatures falling to dangerously cold levels in many cities.
Inventories fell by 191 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a decline of 131 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.817 trillion cubic feet.
By Friday, prices rose on sentiments that the cold air mass will reflect more in next week''s inventory report, which gave the commodity room to rise.
Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models called for a warming trend across much of the U.S. to end next week.
A fresh blast of cold air should return and edge out milder temperatures around Jan. 14, according to Natgasweather.com.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in February were up 0.91% and trading at USD92.49 a barrel, while heating oil for February delivery were up 0.45% and trading at USD2.9345 per gallon.
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