Investing.com – U.S. natural gas futures initially turned around and registered gains in North American trade on Thursday, despite data showed that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. rose more than expected last week.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that in the U.S. rose by 91 billion cubic feet in the week ended September 8, while analysts had forecast a smaller increase of just 85 billion.
for delivery in October on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained 1.5 cents, or 0.49%, to trade at $3.079 per million British thermal units by 10:32AM ET (14:32GMT).
Futures had been falling 0.13%, or 0.4 cents at around $3.054 prior to the release of the supply data.
That compared with a build of 65 billion cubic feet (bcf) in the preceding week and represented a decline of 179 billion from a year earlier but was 43 bcf above the five-year average.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.311 trillion cubic feet, 5.1% lower than levels at this time a year ago and 1.3% above the five-year average for this time of year.
Natural gas prices have gained more than 5% so far this week after Hurricane Irma struck the U.S. southeast with less force than once feared, easing worries over a hit to energy demand.
Despite recent gains, prices look set to remain on the back foot in the weeks ahead as traders react to the reality that higher summer demand for the commodity is coming to an end.
Demand for natural gas tends to rise in the summer months as warmer temperatures increase the need for gas-fired electricity to power air conditioning.
But with autumn due to start on September 22, power burns to feed air conditioning demand have probably peaked for now, market analysts said.
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