MTECHTIPS;-Natural Gas Futures Rally to Start the Week

MTECHTIPS;-Natural Gas Futures Rally to Start the Week

MTECHTIPS-Natural gas futures started the week off with sharp gains on Monday, as traders reacted to forecasts calling for more heating demand through mid-December. U.S. natural gas futures climbed 4.9 cents, or around 1.6%, to $3.110 per million British thermal units by 9:00 AM ET (1400 GMT). The commodity surged 8.8% last week, marking the largest weekly percentage gain since Dec. 2016, as bullish speculators placed bets that cold winter weather will boost demand for the heating fuel. Natural gas futures have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on early-winter heating demand. Prices of the fuel typically rise ahead of the winter as colder weather sparks heating demand. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Meanwhile, market participants looked ahead to this week’s storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw in a range between 3 and 12 billion cubic feet (bcf) in the week ended Dec. 1. That compares with a drop of 33 bcf in the preceding week, a fall of 42 bcf a year earlier and a five-year average decline of 69 bcf. Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.693 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That figure is 309 bcf, or around 7.7%, lower than levels at this time a year ago and 107 bcf, or roughly 2.8%, below the five-year average for this time of year.

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