Market Update 3/8/2013

Natural gas futures extended Thursday’s gains into Friday as investors snapped up positions in the commodity after official data revealed supplies fell more than expected last week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in April traded at USD3.628 per million British thermal units, up 1.30%.

The commodity hit a session low of USD3.566 and a high of USD3.634.

On Thursday, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the week ending March 1 fell by 146 billion cubic feet, well beyond market expectations for a drop of 134 billion cubic feet.

The number fueled a two-day rally.

Inventories fell by 92 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week represented a decline of 107 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 2.083 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 361 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 269 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 1.814 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 73 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 77 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 123 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 694 billion cubic feet after a net withdrawal of 58 billion cubic feet.

Forecasts models continued to point to colder temperatures sticking around through the end of the winter, fueling talk a hike in demand for heating will burn off excess supply, which added to the rally.

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