Natural gas slumps lower after spiking to one week high

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Natural gas futures slumped lower, after hitting a one-week high, during U.S. afternoon hours Thursday.

A report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration indicated natural gas supplies fell more-than-expected last week, as profit takers hit the heating fuel.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in January traded at USD3.644 per million British thermal units during U.S. afternoon trade, down 1.53% on the session.

It earlier rose by as much as 1.2% to trade at a session high of USD3.745 per million British thermal units, the strongest level since November 13.

The January contract traded at USD3.677 prior to the release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration report.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended November 30 fell by 73 billion cubic feet, compared to expectations for a decline of 64 billion cubic feet.

Inventories fell by 14 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a decline of 51 billion cubic feet.

Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.804 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 33 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 168 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 3.636 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.

The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 16 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net withdrawals of 56 billion cubic feet.

Stocks in the Producing Region were 130 billion cubic feet above the five-year average of 1.143 billion cubic feet, after a net withdrawal of 14 billion cubic feet.

Meanwhile, natural gas traders continued to focus on shifting weather forecasts for the next few weeks to gauge the strength of U.S. heating demand.

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