NYMEX May natural gas futures ticked higher overnight in the US ahead of Friday's open, as traders looked to a changing fundamental landscape.
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At 7:05 a.m. ET (1105 GMT), the contract was up 2.1 cents at $2.707/MMBtu while trading in a range from $2.674/MMBtu to $2.711/MMBtu.
Working natural gas stocks continued to decline beyond the traditional end of the withdrawal season on March 31, with the EIA outlining a net 19 Bcf pull from inventories in its latest storage report for the week ended April 6.
The reported storage draw exceeded the average anticipated 14 Bcf withdrawal and countered the 9 Bcf injections for the both the year-ago figure and five-year average.
It left total inventories at 1,335 Bcf, or 725 Bcf below the year-ago level and 375 Bcf below the five-year average of 1,710 Bcf.
Preliminary EIA forecasts suggest inventories would build faster than the five-year average during the injection season that traditionally runs from April 1 to October 31, helped by an anticipated growth of production.
The agency sees an end-of-October storage level of almost 3.8 Tcf, or just 2% lower than the previous five-year average.
Although midrange weather outlooks from the National Weather Service continue to reflect below-average temperatures over the bulk of the country, higher low temperatures associated with spring look to keep a lid on weather-related demand support going forward.