Natural gas futures traded firm at Rs 199.60 per mmBtu on January 15 as participants increased their long positions as seen by the open interest. Natural gas price had declined 2.2 percent on January 14 on the NYMEX.

Natural gas traded higher after a gap down open and turned into positive territory in the afternoon session.

The US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported that US natural gas inventories dropped by 134 Bcf for the week ended January 8 against market expectations of a 129 Bcf.

“Natural gas gave gap down opening and traded lower on Thursday despite larger than expected draw in the inventories. The weather is expected to be cooler than average on the western half of the US and normal to warmer than average on the east coast of the US,” said Kshitij Purohit, Product Manager, Currency & Commodities, CapitalVia Global Research Ltd.

“Natural gas has support at a 21-day moving average which is at Rs 193 while multiple resistance is at Rs 196.70 which is 100-day moving average and Rs 198.90 which is 50 days moving average,” he said.

MCX iCOMDEX Natural Gas Index was down 22.30 points, or 0.92 percent, at 2,458.19.

In the futures market, natural gas for January delivery touched an intraday high of Rs 200.20 and an intraday low of Rs 193 per mmBtu on the MCX. So far in the current series, natural gas has touched a low of Rs 167.40 and a high of Rs 255.90.

Natural gas delivery for January jumped Rs 2, or 1.01 percent, to Rs 199.60 per mmBtu at 14:29 hours IST with a business turnover of 10,625 lots.

Natural gas delivery for February gained Rs 1.60, or 0.82 percent, to Rs 197.20 per mmBtu with a business volume of 2,413 lots.

The value of January and February’s contracts traded so far is Rs 1,735.36 crore and Rs 74.38 crore, respectively.

With mixed factors, choppy trade is likely however buying may emerge at lower levels amid strength in global gas prices and the prospect of cold weather in the US later this month, said Kotak Securities.

At 09:01 (GMT), the natural gas price surged 2.44 percent quoting at $2.73 per mmBtu in New York.