Natural gas gains as forecasts point to U.S. cool snap

Natural gas prices posted modest gains on Tuesday after updated weather-forecasting models called for below-normal temperatures across portions of the central and eastern U.S. in the coming week.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in June traded at $4.738 per million British thermal units during U.S. trading, up 0.49%. The commodity hit session high of $4.760 and a low of $4.696.

The June contract settled down 0.82% on Monday to end at $4.715 per million British thermal units.

Natural gas futures were likely to find support at $4.487 per million British thermal units, Thursday's low, and resistance at $4.798, Monday's high.

Portions of the Midwest and eastern regions of the U.S. should see cool temperatures run through the end of April, which should hike demand for heating.

The forecasts also raised ongoing concerns over whether natural gas producers will be able to refill inventories before the next heating season.

U.S. natural gas stockpiles are near 11-year lows after due to a rough winter, and the first two storage increases of the season have been far smaller than expected. Producers typically replenish inventories between April and October, when demand is lower.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption. Approximately 52% of U.S. households use natural gas for heating, according to the Energy Department.

Last week the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that natural gas stockpiles in the week ended April 11 stood at 850 billion cubic feet. Analysts have estimated that inventories will need to rise to approximately 3.1 trillion cubic feet by November 1.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in June were down 1.94% and trading at $101.64 a barrel, while heating oil for May delivery were down 0.75% at $2.9890 per gallon.