Investing.com - Natural gas futures trimmed gains on Thursday, after data showed that U.S. natural gas supplies fell less-than-expected last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in March rose to USD5.393 per million British thermal units, before trimming gains to trade at USD5.042 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning trade, up 0.25%%.
Nymex gas prices traded at USD5.133 prior to the release of the supply data.
The March contract plunged 6.42% on Wednesday to end at USD5.030 per million British thermal units.
Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.769 per million British thermal units, the low from February 3 and resistance at USD5.737, the high from February 5 and the strongest level in four years.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended January 31 fell by 262 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a decline of 270 billion cubic feet.
Gas supplies fell by 129 billion cubic feet during the same week a year earlier.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.923 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 778 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 556 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.479 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 312 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 143 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 187 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 889 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 93 billion cubic feet.
Natural-gas inventories have fallen sharply in recent 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.
Some market analysts expect supplies at the end of the winter heating season in March to be at their lowest in six years.
Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models called for severe cold weather across the eastern U.S. during the next three-to-five days, with heavy snow expected in the Northeast and New England.
The U.S. Northeast is a key gas-heating area. Bullish speculators are betting that colder weather will increase demand for the heating fuel.
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 March rose 1% to trade at USD98.37 a barrel, while heating oil for March delivery added 0.1% to trade at USD2.998 per gallon.
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