MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas sinks 5% amid lack of cold weather

MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas sinks 5% amid lack of cold weather

MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures fell sharply on Monday, sliding back toward the lowest level since November as forecasts called for mostly warmer-than-normal weather in key regions across the U.S. for the rest of the winter. U.S. natural gas for April delivery dropped 10.6 cents, or around 3.8% to $2.681 per million British thermal units by 8:15 AM ET (13:15 GMT) after being down by nearly 5% earlier. Futures touched a three-and-a-half-month low of $2.522 last Wednesday. Prices of the heating fuel dropped 7% last week, taking its losses for the year to a whopping 30% amid forecasts for warm winter weather. 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 1 and 10 billion cubic feet in the week ended February 24.That compares with a withdrawal of 89 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 48 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 132 billion cubic feet. Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.356 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 2.5% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 6.6% above the five-year average for this time of year.

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