Investing.com - Natural gas futures carried Thursday''s losses into Friday after official data revealed U.S. stockpiles rose more than markets were expecting last week, though prices steadied in afternoon trading.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in July traded at $4.552 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, down 0.16%. The commodity hit a session high of $4.592 and a low of $4.490.
The July contract settled down 1.21% on Thursday to end at $4.559 per million British thermal units.
Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $4.364 per million British thermal units, Tuesday''s low, and resistance at $4.665, Thursday''s high.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report on Thursday that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended May 23 rose by 114 billion cubic feet, above forecasts for an increase of 110 billion cubic feet.
Inventories rose by 88 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a build of 93 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.380 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 748 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 922 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.302 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
Producers would need to add approximately 2.5 trillion cubic feet to storage by November 1 to meet typical winter demand, analysts said.
Meanwhile, market players prepped for the arrival of summertime temperatures in the U.S., which should hike demand for air conditioning.
Updated weather-forecasting models called for above-normal temperatures to settle in across parts of the lower 48 U.S. states through the first week of June, which sent natural gas prices rising earlier this week, though Thursday''s supply data sparked a round of profit taking that carried into Friday.
Demand for natural gas tends to rise in the summer months as warmer temperatures increase the need for gas-fired electricity to power air conditioning.
Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in July were down 0.68% at $102.88 a barrel, while heating oil for July delivery were down 1.02% at $2.8900 per gallon.
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