Natural gas futures shot up on Monday amid growing speculation that a recent blast of arctic air will take its toll on inventories, while weather predictions for a U.S. warming trend to end soon also pressured prices higher.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in February traded at USD4.274 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 5.44%. The commodity hit session high of USD4.278 and a low of USD4.119.
The February contract settled up 1.20% on Friday to end at USD4.053 per million British thermal units. Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.119 per million British thermal units, the earlier low, and resistance at USD4.428, Tuesday''s high.
Early withdrawal estimates for this Thursday’s storage data range from 222 billion cubic feet to 303 billion cubic feet. The five-year average change for the week is a decline of 159 billion cubic feet.
The largest drop on record is a decrease of 285 billion cubic feet in the seven days ended December 13, Energy Information Administration data show.
Natural gas supplies fell by 157 billion cubic feet last week to hit 2.817 trillion cubic feet, approximately 16% below last year''s unusually high level and nearly 10% below the five-year average for this time of year.
Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models called for below-normal temperatures in the week ahead. MDA Weather Services forecast cold weather will move into the eastern half of the country in the next six-to-ten days and edge out mild mercury readings currently in place.
In its 8-14 day outlook, Natgasweather.com predicted cold air to push across the central and eastern U.S. in the third week of January followed by reinforcing blasts of cold air crossing the Midwest and the Plains states before heading east.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in March were down 0.97% and trading at USD92.05 a barrel, while heating oil for February delivery were down 0.19% and trading at USD2.9350 per gallon.