MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas slides to 3-month lows amid lack of cold

MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas slides to 3-month lows amid lack of cold weather

MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures fell sharply on Monday, hitting the lowest level since November as forecasts continued to call for mostly warmer-than-normal weather in key regions across the U.S. for the rest of the winter. Natural gas for March delivery on the New York Mercantile Exchange sank to a session low of $2.745 per million British thermal units, a level not seen since November 18. It was last at $2.766 by 8:20 AM ET (13:20 GMT), down 7.3 cents, or around 2.6%. The more actively-traded April contract slumped 6.9 cents, or 2.3%, to $2.882. Trading activity was likely to stay light as markets in the U.S. remain closed for President’s Day on Monday. Prices of the heating fuel sank 7% last week, taking its losses for the year to almost 24%, as forecasts for warm winter weather weighed on heating demand expectations. Based on data from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, this year’s extremely warm winter has pushed heating demand for natural gas to nearly 20% below average. About half of U.S. homes use natural gas for heating. Meanwhile, market participants looked ahead to weekly storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw in a range between 86 and 97 billion cubic feet in the week ended February 17. That compares with a withdrawal of 114 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 117 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 158 billion cubic feet

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