MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas futures drop after first inventory build

MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas futures drop after first inventory build of season

MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures were lower on Thursday, adding to losses after data showed that natural gas supplies rose for the first time since last March, cutting the withdrawal season short. U.S. natural gas for April delivery fell 2.7 cents, or around 1%, to $2.772 per million British thermal units by 10:35 AM ET (15:35 GMT). Futures were at around $2.780 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. rose by 7 billion cubic feet in the week ended February 24, compared to market expectations for a drop of 4 billion cubic feet. That compared 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 2.363 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 7.3% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 12.5% above the five-year average for this time of year. Prices of the heating fuel are down a whopping 28% 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.
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