- Natural gas futures shot up on Thursday after data revealed Americans demanded more of the commodity last week than expected.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at $4.499 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 2.35%. The commodity hit session high of $4.500 and a low of $4.368.

The May contract settled up 0.43% on Wednesday to end at $4.395 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $4.258 per million British thermal units, Monday''s low, and resistance at $4.585, the high from March 17.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ending March 21 fell by 57 billion cubic feet, surpassing expectations for a decline of 54 billion cubic feet.

Supplies fell by 90 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier while the five-year average change for the week is a drop of 7 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 896 billion cubic feet, the lowest for this time of year since 2003.

Stocks were 899 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 926 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.822 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 419 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 39 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 378 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 754 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 15 billion cubic feet.

The numbers sparked a rally, which may be short-lived, as updated long-term weather-forecasting models called for a return of milder temperatures across most parts of the U.S. once a frigid winter system clears out of the eastern U.S.

Natural gas prices have been under heavy selling pressure in recent sessions amid concerns that the arrival of spring will bring warmer temperatures throughout the U.S. and cut into demand for heating.

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 May were up 1.24% and trading at $101.50 a barrel, while heating oil for May delivery were up 0.59% and trading at $2.9351 per gallon.

Please LIKE our Facebook page - it makes us stronger