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Natural Gas Futures Jump as Domestic Supplies Slide

April 12, 2018 at 16:55 by Andrew Moran

Natural gas futures are advancing towards the end of the trading week as the US government reported that domestic stockpiles fell more than expected. Natural gas prices rose sharply before paring some of those early gains.

May natural gas futures jumped $0.01, or 0.35%, to $2.683 per million British thermal units (btu) at 16:36 GMT on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural gas has remained relatively flat this week, but it has slipped nearly 2% year-to-date.

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), US supplies of natural gas tumbled by 19 billion cubic feet for the week ending April 6. The market had anticipated a decline of 8 billion. Total stockpiles now stand at 1.335 trillion cubic feet, down 725 billion cubic feet from the same time a year ago, and 375 million below the five-year average.

Seasonal averages suggest there will be a mild uptick in supplies around this time of the year. However, weather forecasts show that cooler temperatures in many parts of the country could boost the demand for the remainder of the month.

In other energy markets on Thursday, May West Texas Intermediate (WTI) futures are down $0.20, or 0.30%, to $66.62 per barrel. June Brent crude futures slid $0.44, or 0.61%, to $71.62 a barrel. May gasoline futures dipped $0.019, or 0.95%, to $2.047 per gallon. May heating oil futures shed $0.014, or 0.71%, to $2.077 a gallon.

On Wednesday, the EIA reported that domestic crude stockpiles rose 3.3 million barrels, while US output edged up 65,000 barrels to 10.525 million barrels per day (bpd). Gasoline stockpiles increased by 500,000 barrels for the week, while distillate stockpiles fell by one million barrels.

Earlier this week, the EIA revised its forecast for US crude production in 2019 by 1.5% to 11.44 million bpd.

A new monthly report from the Organization for Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) highlighted that the cartel’s total oil output in March declined by 201,000 bpd to 31.96 million bpd.

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