Gas futures at 18-month high in US
NATURAL gas futures fluctuated near an 18-month high above $4 (€3.09) in New York on forecasts of colder-than-normal weather and a government report showing an above-average decline in US stockpiles.
Gas futures have surged 18pc this year as winter storms brought below-normal temperatures, widening a year-on-year supply deficit to the most since 2008. Inventories dropped 62 billion cubic feet in the week ended March 15 to 1.876 trillion cubic feet, above the five-year average decline of 26 billion, The Energy Information Administration report showed.
"The weather is still bullish and we should see some above-average withdrawals for the next couple of weeks," said Kent Bayazitoglu, an analyst at Gelber & Associates in Houston. "The heating season is far from over."
Natural gas for April delivery slipped 0.3 cent to $3.957 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange yesterday afternoon. The futures earlier rose to $4.025, the highest price since September 15, 2011. Volume was more than double 100-day average.
US-based MDA Weather Services said below-normal temperatures may linger for most of the lower 48 states through March 30. About half of American households use gas for heating. (Bloomberg)