- Natural gas futures traded near a six-week low on Thursday, as market players looked ahead to the release of weekly supply data to gauge the strength of demand in the U.S. in the week ending May 9.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in June traded at $4.345 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours, down 0.5%, or 2.2 cents. Prices held in a range between $4.341 and $4.385 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas fell to $4.339 on Wednesday, the weakest level since April 3, before settling at $4.367, up 0.21%, or 0.9 cents.

Futures were likely to find support at $4.312 per million British thermal units, the low from April 3 and resistance at $4.469, the high from May 13.

Early injection estimates range from 80 billion cubic feet to 100 billion cubic feet. The five-year average change for the week is a build of 82 billion cubic feet, while supplies rose by 98 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at an 11-year low of 1.055 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Producers would need to add 2.6 trillion to 2.9 trillion cubic feet to storage by November 1 to meet typical winter demand, analysts said.

Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models continued to call for warmer-than-average weather over much of the Midwest and Northeast over the next 15 days, which was likely to lower heating demand.

Natural gas prices have lost nearly 8% since May 7 as a weakening demand outlook combined with receding concerns over tight inventories weighed.

Spring and fall see the weakest demand for the fuel in the U.S, as the absence of extreme temperatures curbs demand for heating and air conditioning.

Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Elsewhere on the Nymex, U.S. crude oil for delivery in June shed 0.43%, or 45 cents, to trade at $101.93 a barrel, while heating oil for June delivery tacked on 0.05% to trade at $2.964 per gallon.

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