Natural gas futures rose more than 1% on Friday, as market participants continued to focus on near-term weather forecasts to gauge the strength of demand for the fuel.
Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on early-winter heating demand.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in December advanced 1.14% on Friday to settle the week at USD3.559 per million British thermal units.
The December contract rallied to USD3.622 per million British thermal units on Thursday, the highest since October 31, before settling at USD3.519, up 0.6%.
Nymex gas futures were likely to find support at USD3.454 per million British thermal units, the low from November 6 and resistance at USD3.658, the high from October 31.
On the week, December natural gas prices rose 1.29%.
Updated weather forecasting models called for chilly temperatures across most parts of the eastern half of the U.S. during the next six-to-ten-days.
Forecasts originally called for mild weather during the period.
Bullish speculators are betting that colder weather will increase demand for the heating fuel. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.
Meanwhile, U.S. supply levels also remained in focus. The U.S. Energy Information Administration said on Thursday that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 35 billion cubic feet, broadly in line with forecasts.
Inventories rose by 27 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a build of 36 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 3.814 trillion cubic feet as last week, 2.9% below last year's unusually high level but 1.5% above the five-year average for this time of year.
Early injection estimates for this week’s storage data range from 16 billion cubic feet to 36 billion cubic feet, compared to a 12 billion cubic feet increase during the same week a year earlier.
The five-year average for the week is a build of 19 billion cubic feet.
Elsewhere in the energy complex, light sweet crude oil futures for December delivery settled at USD94.60 a barrel by close of trade on Friday, little changed on the week.
Meanwhile, heating oil for December delivery shed 0.52% on the week to settle at USD2.868 per gallon by close of trade Friday. - investing.com