Natural gas futures carried Monday’s robust gains into Tuesday as speculation remained firm that a recent blast of arctic air will take its toll on inventories. On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in February traded at USD4.369 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 2.21%. The commodity hit session high of USD4.381 and a low of USD4.288. The February contract settled up 5.45% on Monday to end at USD4.274 per million British thermal units. Natural gas futures were likely to find support at USD4.119 per million British thermal units, Monday’s low, and resistance at USD4.428, the high from Jan. 7. A recent blast of cold air sent temperatures falling dangerously low in recent days, and energy markets were betting Tuesday the weather will take its toll on supplies. Early withdrawal estimates for this Thursday’s storage data range from 250 billion cubic feet to 339 billion cubic feet. The five-year average change for the week is a decline of 159 billion cubic feet. The largest drop on record is a decrease of 285 billion cubic feet in the seven days ended Dec. 13, Energy Information Administration data show. Natural gas supplies fell by 157 billion cubic feet last week to hit 2.817 trillion cubic feet, approximately 16% below last year’s unusually high level and nearly 10% below the five-year average for this time of year. Meanwhile, updated weather forecasting models called for below-normal temperatures in the week ahead. A warming trend currently in place will give way to reinforcing shots of below-normal temperatures, which should hike demand for natural gas at the country’s thermal power plants as businesses and homes ramp up heating.
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