Natural gas futures climb to 21-month high on tighter supplies
BY DAN STRUMPF
NEW YORK -- Natural gas futures surged to a 21-month high Friday, extending their rally for a third session on tightening inventories and persistent cold weather expected to boost demand for gas-fired heating.
Natural gas for May delivery settled 8.3 cents, or 2%, higher at $4.222/MMBTU on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That is the highest settlement for a front-month contract since July 28, 2011.
Futures climbed 2.4% this week in a rally fueled by tightening natural gas inventories and stubbornly cold temperatures across key parts of the country, keeping demand for heating elevated into spring.
On Thursday, the Energy Information Administration said U.S. gas stockpiles fell 14 Bcf the week of April 5. Typically this time of year, stockpiles begin to climb as milder spring temperatures curb demand for natural gas.
Inventories now stand at 1,673 Bcf, 3.8% below the five-year average level for this time of year, and 32.5% below last year' s level.
Dow Jones Newswires