MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas slides to 3-week low on forecasts forless

MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas slides to 3-week low on forecasts for less cold

MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures slumped for the fourth session in a row on Tuesday, hitting a three-week low as forecasts for less cold weather and lighter heating demand through the end of the year dragged down prices. Natural gas for January delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell to a session low of $3.252 per million British thermal units, a level not seen since November 28. It was last at $3.256 by 10:00 AM ET (15:00 GMT), down 13.6 cents, or 4%. Futures sold off after updated weather forecasting models predicted warmer temperatures would arrive by the end of December, dampening demand for the heating fuel. About half of U.S. homes use natural gas for heating. Meanwhile, market participants awaited weekly supply data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw in a range between 197 and 210 billion cubic feet in the week ended December 16. That compares with a withdrawal of 147 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 32 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 101 billion cubic feet. Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.806 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 1.3% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 4.9% above the five-year average for this time of year.