Natural gas futures plunge 4% after bearish storage data
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas for delivery in April tumbled 13.0 cents, or 4.54%, to trade at $2.732 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning hours. Prices were at around $2.833 prior to the release of the supply data.
Futures were likely to find support at $2.713 per million British thermal units, the low from February 17, and resistance at $2.948, the high from February 25.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended February 20 fell by 219 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a decline of 241 billion.
The five-year average change for the week is a decline of 131 billion cubic feet, while supplies fell by 117 billion the same time last year.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.938 trillion cubic feet. Stocks were 576 billion cubic feet higher than last year at this time and 30 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.968 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
A day earlier, natural gas for delivery in April shed 2.7 cents, or 0.93%, to settle at $2.862 as extended forecasts called for warmer weather across the majority of the U.S.
Bearish speculators are betting on the warm weather reducing late-winter demand for the heating fuel.
The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.
Elsewhere on the Nymex, crude oil for delivery in April slumped $1.52, or 2.98%, to trade at $49.47 a barrel, while heating oil for April delivery dropped 0.95% to trade at $1.922 per gallon.