London — May natural gas futures turned higher overnight in the US ahead of Thursday's open, and the midmorning release of the next slate of storage data. At 7:15 am ET (1115 GMT) the contract was up 3.8 cents at $2.736/MMBtu.
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Analysts and traders looking to the storage report that will cover the week to March 23, expect a storage pull from 65 Bcf to 80 Bcf with a consensus formed at a 72 Bcf withdrawal from stocks as lingering cold weather is expected to have kept demand elevated.
The pull will compare with the 46 Bcf five-year average pull and the 58 Bcf drawdown reported for the same week in 2017.
With an additional storage pull in the upper 20s Bcf anticipated for the week to March 30, market participants are considering end-of-season inventories forecast at 19% below the five-year average level by March 31, and the ability to refill the supply ahead of the next peak demand period.
Weather will play a key role in the market's ability to rebuild supply and while midrange forecasts suggest additional cold weather, projections for the April-June period suggest declining demand that alongside strong production outlooks should help inventories grow.