- U.S. natural gas futures gave back some of the previous session’s strong gains on Friday, as a weakening demand outlook combined with receding concerns over tight inventories weighed.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in June fell 1.25%, or 5.6 cents on Friday to settle at $4.413 per million British thermal units by close of trade.

Natural gas prices rallied 2.34%, or 10.2 cents on Thursday to close at $4.469 per million British thermal units.

Futures were likely to find support at $4.289 per million British thermal units, the low from May 15 and resistance at $4.509, the high from May 15.

On the week, Nymex natural gas prices lost 2.6%, or 11.8 cents, the second consecutive weekly decline.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report published Thursday that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 105 billion cubic feet last week, compared to forecasts for an increase of 99 billion cubic feet.

While the data initially was seen as bearish, the EIA said it included reclassifications of 8 billion cubic feet from base gas to working gas.

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 1.160 trillion cubic feet as of last week, 40% below their level this time last year and 45% below the five-year average.

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 called for mild springtime temperatures over much of the Midwest and Northeast, which was likely to lower heating demand.

Spring and fall see the weakest demand for natural gas 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.

Data from the Commodities Futures Trading Commission released Friday showed that hedge funds and money managers decreased their bullish bets in natural gas futures in the week ending May 13.

Net longs totaled 89,047 contracts, down 18.5% from net longs of 109,334 in the previous week.

Elsewhere in the energy complex, U.S. crude oil oil for July delivery settled at $101.58 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, up 1.56%, or $1.59 a barrel, on the week.

Meanwhile, heating oil for June delivery rose 1.45% on the week to settle at $2.951 per gallon by close of trade Friday.

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