MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas sinks 7% to fresh 3-month lows

MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas sinks 7% to fresh 3-month lows

MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures sold off on Tuesday, falling to the weakest 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 $2.629 per million British thermal units, a level not seen since November 18. It was last at $2.632 by 10:15 AM ET (15:15 GMT), down 20.2 cents, or around 7.2%. The more actively-traded April contract slumped 21.6 cents, or 7.3%, to $2.735. There was no settlement in NYMEX oil prices on Monday, due to the President’s Day holiday in the U.S. Prices of the heating fuel are down a whopping 29% so far this year 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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