Natural gas headed for biggest weekly drop since 1996


Natural gas headed for biggest weekly drop since 1996


NEW YORK (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures headed for the biggest weekly drop in 17 years in New York after a government report showed U.S. stockpiles of the heating fuel declined less than estimated.

Natural gas for April delivery slid as much as 1.3 percent in today’s electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, set for a fifth straight daily retreat. The contract was at $4.481 per million British thermal units at 10:04 a.m. in London. Volume for all futures traded was 64 percent below the 100-day average. The 27 percent weekly loss is the biggest since the week through Dec. 27, 1996, and prices slumped 9.3 percent in February.

U.S. inventories fell 95 billion cubic feet in the week ended Feb. 21 to 1.348 trillion, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed a withdrawal of 102 billion. Commodity Weather Group LLC expects normal or warmer-than-average weather for parts of the Great Plains and the West from March 9 through March 13.

Another winter storm will bring more snow, sleet and rain throughout the Northeast in the first days of March. There is a 90 percent chance that snow will fall in New York on March 2 and 3, according to the National Weather Service. Boston’s chances are 70 percent, and Philadelphia has an 80 percent chance of sleet and snow on March 3.

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