- Natural gas futures shot up on Thursday after a weekly U.S. supply report revealed cold winter weather has taken its toll on the country''s stockpiles.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in March traded at USD5.113 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 6.02%. The commodity hit session high of USD5.123 and a low of USD4.814.

The March contract settled down 0.04% on Wednesday to end at USD4.822 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.564 per million British thermal units, Monday''s low, and resistance at USD5.734, the high from Feb. 5.

A series of powerful winter storms have prompted homes and business to ramp up on their heating, thus hiking demand for natural gas at the country''s thermal power plants, weekly supply data released earlier revealed.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended Feb. 7 fell by 237 billion cubic feet, outpacing already bullish expectations for a decline of 233 billion cubic feet.

The five-year average change for the week is a decline of 162 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.686 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 863 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 631 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 2.317 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 315 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 106 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 232 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 845 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 89 billion cubic feet.

Meanwhile, freezing temperatures and heavy snow were expected across parts of the eastern U.S., which added to the rally.

Bullish speculators are betting that the winter storm 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 were up 0.23% and trading at USD100.60 a barrel, while heating oil for March delivery were up 0.62% and trading at USD3.0313 per gallon.

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