U.S. natural gas futures were lower on Thursday, holding on to losses despite data showed that domestic supplies in storage increased less than expected last week.
U.S. natural gas for October delivery was at $2.929 per million British thermal units by 10:35 AM ET (14:35 GMT), down 1.0 cent or around 0.3%. Futures were at around $2.935 prior to the release of the supply data.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas storage in the U.S. rose by 30 billion cubic feet in the week ended August 25, just below forecasts for a build of 32 billion.
That compared with a gain of 43 billion cubic feet in the preceding week, a build of 51 billion a year earlier and a five-year average rise of 67 billion cubic feet.
Total natural gas in storage currently stands at 3.155 trillion cubic feet, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, around 7.0% lower than levels at this time a year ago and less than 1.0% above the five-year average for this time of year.
Natural gas futures ended lower on Wednesday, as comfortable temperatures were seen continuing over the central and east-central U.S. in the next five days, with highs only in the 70s to lower 80s as weather systems sweep through.
Natural gas prices have closely tracked weather forecasts in recent weeks, as traders try to gauge the impact of shifting outlooks on late-summer cooling demand.
Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for cooling.
Meanwhile, market players continued to assess the damage from Harvey on near-term supply and demand prospects.
Massive floods caused by Harvey forced several producers to scale back output along the U.S. Gulf Coast. However, gains were held in check amid expectations that production losses would be more than offset by reductions in demand due to cooler temperatures and power outages.