MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas spikes almost 7% after bullish storage

MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas spikes almost 7% after bullish storage data

MTECHTIPS-U.S. natural gas futures extended sharp gains on Thursday morning, climbing to a more than one-week high after data showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. fell more than expected last week. Natural gas for February delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange jumped almost 7% to a session peak of $3.450 per million British thermal units, a level not seen since January 3. It was last at $3.427 by 10:35 AM ET (15:35 GMT), up 20.3 cents, or around 6.3%. Futures were at around $3.368 prior to the release of the supply data. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. declined by 151 billion cubic feet in the week ended January 6, exceeding market expectations for a drop of 144 billion cubic feet. That compared with a withdrawal of 49 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 168 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 167 billion cubic feet. Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.160 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 10.3% lower than levels at this time a year ago and around 0.1% below the five-year average for this time of year.