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MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas stays within sight of 3-month lows

Wednesday, March 1, 2017 3:09
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MTECHTIPS:-U.S. natural gas stays within sight of 3-month lows

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MTECHTIPS- U.S. natural gas futures held within sight of the lowest level since November on Tuesday, amid forecasts for warmer weather in key regions across the U.S. during the next few weeks. U.S. natural gas for April delivery dipped 0.1 cents, or less than 0.1% to $2.692 per million British thermal units by 8:40 AM ET (13:40 GMT), after plunging 9.4 cents, or 3.4%, on Monday. Futures touched a three-and-a-half-month low of $2.522 last Wednesday, as forecasts called for mostly warmer-than-normal weather in key regions across the U.S. for the rest of the winter. Prices of the heating fuel are down a whopping 30% so far this year. 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. Meanwhile, market participants looked ahead to weekly storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw in a range between 1 and 8 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. 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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