Natural gas futures fell to a five-week low on Thursday, after a report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration showed natural gas supplies rose more-than-expected last week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in June traded at USD3.909 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning trade, down 1.7% on the day.
Nymex natural gas prices fell by as much as 2.1% earlier in the day to hit a session low of USD3.890 per million British thermal units.
The June contract traded at USD3.946 prior to the release of the U.S. Energy Information Administration report.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. in the week ended May 3 rose by 88 billion cubic feet, above expectations for an increase of 83 billion cubic feet.
Inventories rose by 30 billion cubic feet in the same week a year earlier, while the five-year average change for the week is a rise of 69 billion cubic feet.
Total U.S. natural gas storage stood at 1.865 trillion cubic feet as of last week. Stocks were 737 billion cubic feet less than last year at this time and 99 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 1.964 trillion cubic feet for this time of year.
The report showed that in the East Region, stocks were 109 billion cubic feet below the five-year average, following net injections of 52 billion cubic feet.
Stocks in the Producing Region were 40 billion cubic feet below the five-year average of 805 billion cubic feet after a net injection of 31 billion cubic feet.
Natural gas futures were lower ahead of the data as forecasts showing mild weather for the rest of May continued to weigh.
The Commodity Weather Group said earlier in the week that temperatures across most of the U.S. for the next two weeks are expected to hold near average for this time of year.
Gas use usually hits a seasonal low with spring's mild temperatures, before warmer weather increases demand for gas-fired electricity generation to power air conditioning.
Nymex gas prices have risen sharply in recent weeks, gaining almost 30% since mid-February, boosted by calls for colder temperatures in major consuming regions across the U.S. that helped tighten the market.
Gas futures rose to USD USD4.442 per million British thermal units on Wednesday, the strongest level since July 22, 2011.
But prices have lost 11% since then, with some analysts warning of further losses with spring's low-demand shoulder season looming.