U.S. Natural Gas Spikes after Bullish Storage Data

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On Thursday morning, U.S. natural gas futures prolonged sharp gains, rising to over one week peak after statistic indicated that natural gas supplies in storage in the U.S. drop more than expected the previous week.

Delivery of Natural gas for February on the New York Mercantile Exchange increased approximately 7% to a session high of $3.450 per million British thermal units, a level not perceived since January 3.

It was previously at $3.427 by 10:35AM ET (15:35GMT), up 20.3 cents, or approximately 6.3%. Futures were at about $3.368 prior to the announcement of the supply data.

In its weekly report, the U.S. Energy Information Administration stated that natural gas storage in the U.S. dropped by  151 billion cubic feet in the week ended January 6, exceeding market expectations for a decline  of 144 billion cubic feet.

“That compared with a withdrawal of 49 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, 168 billion a year earlier and a five-year average drop of 167 billion cubic feet,” according to the reports.

Currently, total natural gas in storage stands at 3.160 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, 10.3% lower than levels at this time a year ago and approximately  0.1% below the five-year average for this time of year.

Temporarily, updated weather forecasts for the end of January turned even colder, which should increase demand for the heating fuel. Weather models initially forecasted mild temperatures throughout most parts of the U.S. during the period.

In recent weeks,  Natural-gas markets have been volatile, changing course rapidly in response to shifting outlooks in near term weather patterns.  Approximately half of U.S. homes use natural gas for heating.

On Additional News

On Friday, gold and copper prices plunged in Asia in spite of upbeat trade data out of China that presented the industrial metal on the upswing.

Delivery of gold for February on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange declined to 0.54% to $1,193.35 a troy ounce, although copper futures declined 0.34% to $2.659 a pound.

In China, the trade balance came in at an excess of $40.82 billion for December with exports down 6.1% and imports up 3.1%.

Customs stated on Friday,  China imported 490,000 tonnes of un-wrought copper in December, up nearly 30% from a month before,  as fabricators and traders increased purchases because of  a weaker yuan and a favorable Shanghai-London arbitrage.

The purchasing  from the world’s top consumer of industrial metals brought the total for 2016 to a record 4.95 million tonnes, up 2.9% from a year before, the data showed.

Shipments of copper concentrate and ore imports last year also reach a record, up 28% at 16.96 million metric tons.

In sparse statements, Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Thursday stated she has no major worries for the U.S. economy over the short term. The labor market is “strong,” wage growth is “beginning to pick up,” and inflation is a little below the Fed’s 2% target “but pretty close,” she told a group of economics teachers in Washington, D.C. on Thursday evening.

Suddenly, on Thursday,  gold prices rallied to a seven-week peak on greenback weakness.

In December, the Fed Reserve had indicated in that at least three rate increases were in the offing for 2017, according to a forecast of interest rates from members of the central bank, known as the dot-plot.

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