MTECHTIPS:-Natural gas futures off the highs after storage data
Natural gas futures trimmed gains on Thursday, despite data showing that U.S. natural gas supplies rose less than expected last week. Natural gas for delivery in August rose 2.4 cents, or 0.88%, on the New York Mercantile Exchange to trade at $2.806 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours. Prices were at around $2.846 prior to the release of the supply data. A day earlier, natural gas prices fell to $2.733, the lowest level since June 9, before turning higher to end at $2.782, up 3.6 cents, or 1.31%. Futures were likely to find support at $2.733, the low from June 25, and resistance at $2.905, the high from June 18. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended June 19 rose by 75 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for an increase of 77 billion and following a build of 89 billion cubic feet in the preceding week. Supplies rose by 110 billion cubic feet in the same week last year, while the five-year average change is an increase of 86 billion cubic feet. Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.508 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 695 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 35 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 2.473 trillion cubic feet for this time of year. Meanwhile, investors focused on near-term weather forecasts to gauge the strength of demand for the fuel. Updated weather forecasting models called for higher-than-normal temperatures across most parts of the U.S. in the next three days. However, a cooler weather system from Canada was expected to push readings to near normal across much of Northeast and Midwest early next week.