Investing.com - Natural gas futures soared to highs not seen since 2010 on Friday after updated weather-forecasting called for fresh blasts of cold air to sweep across the U.S. and hike demand for heating.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in February traded at USD4.998 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 5.66%. The commodity hit session high of USD5.025 and a low of USD4.814.
The February contract settled up 0.87% on Thursday to end at USD4.730 per million British thermal units.
Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.684 per million British thermal units, the earlier low, and resistance at USD5.190, the high from June 18, 2010.
A recent blast of cold air that dumped snow across the eastern U.S. will see reinforcements through the end of January, while early February will see fresh blasts of cold air as well.
Bullish speculators spent the session betting that colder weather will increase demand for the heating fuel.
This week''s supply data sent prices up as well.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended Jan. 17 fell by 107 billion cubic feet, just shy of market expectations for a decline of 110 billion cubic feet but enough to send prices rising on sentiments that below-normal temperatures have been increasing demand for the commodity.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.423 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 598 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 369 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.792 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 253 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 67 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 75 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 962 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 25 billion cubic feet.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in March were down 0.75% and trading at USD96.59 a barrel, while heating oil for February delivery were up 1.38% and trading at USD3.1190 per gallon.