MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas futures kick off the week with strong

MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas futures kick off the week with strong gains

MTECHTIPS – U.S. natural gas futures rose sharply on Monday, on track for their second straight session of gains as traders monitored shifting weather forecasts to assess the outlook for spring demand and supply levels. U.S. natural gas for July delivery jumped 5.1 cents, or around 1.5%, to $3.404 per million British thermal units by 9:15 AM ET (13:15 GMT). Prices of the heating fuel rallied 7.3 cents on Friday after the latest U.S. weather model called for cooler temperatures over the next two weeks, which should increase demand during that time. Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on spring heating demand. Gas use typically hits a seasonal low with spring’s mild temperatures, before warmer weather increases demand for gas-fired electricity generation to power air conditioning. Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for heating. Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 2.369 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 13.6% lower than levels at this time a year ago but 10.8% above the five-year average for this time of year
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