MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas sinks to 3-month lows after weeklystorage

MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas sinks to 3-month lows after weekly storage data

MTECHTIPS-U.S. natural gas futures fell to a three-month low on Thursday, after data showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. fell less than expected last week. Natural gas for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange slumped 4.4 cents, or around 1.5%, to $2.881 per million British thermal units by 10:35 AM ET (15:35 GMT), after falling to a session low of $2.873, a level not seen since November 18. Futures were at around $2.915 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 114 billion cubic feet in the week ended February 10, below market expectations for a drop of 124 billion cubic feet. That compared with a withdrawal of 152 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 163 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 156 billion cubic feet. Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.445 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 12.4% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 3.5% above the five-year average for this time of year. The natural-gas market has been on the defensive in recent days after forecasting models showed cold air exiting the Northeast, with the updated 6-10 day forecast looking warmer than previously projected. Prices of the heating fuel are down almost 21% since the start of the year as forecasts for warm winter weather weighed on heating demand expectations. About half of U.S. homes use natural gas for heating

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