Natural gas rises as U.S. cold burst spurs heating demand
BY WINNIE ZHU
NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas rebounded in New York as wintry weather over most of the U.S. boosted demand for the heating fuel.
Futures rose as much as 1.7 percent as the coldest air in almost 20 years swept over the central U.S. toward the East Coast, threatening to topple temperature records. Tomorrow may be the coldest day of the 21st century for the contiguous U.S., beating Jan. 16, 2009, according to Matt Rogers, the president of Commodity Weather Group in Bethesda, Maryland.
Gas is rising because of the weather, said Gordon Kwan, the regional head of oil and gas research at Nomura Holdings Inc. in Hong Kong. “We may see $4.50, or maybe even a spike to $5” per million British thermal units, he said by phone today.
Natural gas for February delivery climbed as much as 7.1 cents to $4.375 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, and was at $4.372 at 9:30 a.m. London time. The volume of all futures traded was 73 percent above the 100-day average. Prices advanced 26 percent in 2013, the most in eight years.
Natural gas will increase this week, according to a Bloomberg News survey. Eight of 11 analysts, or 73 percent, said futures will gain through Jan. 10, while three predicted a decline. Last week, 44 percent of survey participants said prices would drop.
About 49 percent of U.S. households use gas for heating with the biggest consumers in the Midwest, according to the Energy Information Administration. The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for the fuel in the lower 48 states.