MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas bounces off 3-week low

MTECHTIPS;-U.S. natural gas bounces off 3-week low

MTECHTIPS-U.S. natural gas futures were higher on Tuesday, bouncing off the lowest level in three weeks as traders monitored shifting weather forecasts to assess the outlook for early-spring demand and supply levels. U.S. natural gas for May delivery tacked on 1.5 cents, or around 0.5%, to $3.178 per million British thermal units by 10:05 AM ET (14:05 GMT). It fell to $3.114 earlier, the cheapest since March 29. Prices of the heating fuel slumped 6.4 cents on Monday. Weather patterns are expected to be rather bearish through the first half of the week due to mostly mild temperatures dominating much of the country beside the far northern U.S., according to forecasters at However, a colder weather system will track over the southern and eastern U.S. later in the week through early next week to bring an increase in demand to stronger levels. Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting forecasts on early-spring demand. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for heating. Meanwhile, market participants looked ahead to weekly storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a build in a range between 40 and 50 billion cubic feet in the week ended April 14. That compares with a gain of 10 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, a gain of 7 billion a year earlier and a five-year average rise of 35 billion cubic feet. Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.061 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 20.2% lower than levels at this time a year ago but 12.8% above the five-year average for this time of year.
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