Investing.com – Natural gas futures were a bit higher on Tuesday, but stayed near their lowest level in almost nine months, as market players continued to monitor winter weather forecasts to gauge demand for the fuel.
tacked on 0.5 cents, or around 0.3%, to $2.829 per million British thermal units (btu) by 9:40AM ET (1440GMT).
It touched its worst level since early March 2 at $2.747 last Thursday amid forecasts for less heating demand through late December.
Natural gas futures have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on early-winter heating demand.
Prices of the fuel typically rise ahead of the winter as colder weather sparks heating demand. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption.
Meanwhile, market participants looked ahead to this week’s storage data due on Thursday, which is expected to show a draw in a range between 57 and 69 billion cubic feet (bcf) in the week ended Dec. 8.
That compares with a gain of 2 bcf in the preceding week, a fall of 147 bcf a year earlier and a five-year average decline of 78 bcf.
Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.695 trillion cubic feet (tcf), according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That figure is 264 bcf, or around 6.6%, lower than levels at this time a year ago and 36 bcf, or roughly 1%, below the five-year average for this time of year.
Analysts estimated the amount of gas in storage would end the April-October injection season at 3.8 tcf due primarily to higher liquefied natural gas shipments abroad. That would fall short of the year-earlier record of 4.0 tcf and the five-year average of 3.9 tcf.
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