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Gas Gains as Coldest Blast Since Last Winter Hits U.S.

Natural gas advanced the most in 10 days as the coldest blast since last winter is set to hit the central and eastern U.S.

An arctic air mass will sweep across most of the region, pushing temperatures today and tomorrow 20 to 40 degrees Fahrenheit below average, according to the National Weather Service. Futures gained as much as 4.2 percent on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the biggest jump since Nov. 6.

“A winter storm remains on track to disrupt travel across a part of the Midwest and Northeast before opening the door for the harshest cold blast since last winter to arrive,” Kristina Pydynowski, a senior meteorologist at AccuWeather Inc., said on the weather service’s website today.

Natural gas for December rose 13.3 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $4.153 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange by 9:49 a.m. London time, leading gains in the Bloomberg Commodity Index. The volume of all futures traded was almost three times more than the 100-day average for the time of day. The fuel dropped 8.9 percent last week.

Gas stockpiles rose 40 billion cubic feet in the week ended Nov. 7 to 3.611 trillion, the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm said Nov. 14. Inventories gained 22 billion the same week last year. About 49 percent of U.S. households use gas for heating, according to the Energy Information Administration.

“The intensity of the cold is expected to lessen as temperatures begin to moderate heading into the second part of the week,” Brian Lada, a meteorologist at AccuWeather, said on the forecaster’s website.

The low in Chicago today may be 13 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 11 Celsius), 21 degrees below the seasonal norm, before climbing to 38 degrees on Nov. 22, 6 degrees above the norm, according to AccuWeather.

“It’s going to remain very cold this week for markets in the northern latitudes, but demand will slack off for the week thereafter,” said Stephen Schork, president of Schork Group Inc., a consulting group in Villanova, Pennsylvania. “Demand is very strong for this week, but next week’s consumption will be challenged by warmer temps, and the Thanksgiving holiday.”

Published on:
November 17, 2014
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