MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas rises to 1-week high on bets for bullish

MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas rises to 1-week high on bets for bullish storage data

MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures rose to a one-week high on Wednesday, as traders looked ahead to weekly storage data to gauge supply and demand levels. U.S. natural gas for April delivery reached a session high of $2.824 per million British thermal units earlier, a level not seen since February 21. It was last at $2.779 by 9:40 AM ET (14:40 GMT), up 0.5 cents, or around 0.3%, after jumping 3% in the prior session. Market participants looked ahead to weekly storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw in a range of 5 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. Prices of the heating fuel are down a whopping 27% so far this year as forecasts called for mostly warmer-than-normal winter weather in key regions across the U.S. 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. Without significant demand for natural gas, inventories could stay near record levels and may even continue to pull prices even lower.
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