Bloomberg News

Natural Gas Advances First Day in Six on Hot Weather Outlook

June 20, 2011

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures gained for the first time in six days on forecasts of above-normal temperatures that may increase demand for the power-plant fuel.

Gas futures climbed as much as 1.1 percent after forecasters including MDA EarthSat Weather in Rockville, Maryland, predicted hotter-than-normal weather in the central U.S. from June 30 through July 4.

“It’s hot in the South, especially in Texas and Oklahoma,” said Ed Kennedy, a trader at INTL Hencorp Futures LC in Miami. “But we’re going to need a change in supply and demand to break out of this trading range, and I don’t see it yet.”

Natural gas for July delivery rose 0.4 cent to $4.329 per million British thermal units at 12:24 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures have declined 1.7 percent this year.

Gas futures had dropped to $4.279, the lowest intraday price since May 26.

The high temperature in New York on June 28 may be 81 degrees Fahrenheit (27 Celsius), 1 below normal, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania. The high in Houston may be 94 degrees, 2 above normal.

Cooling demand in the north-central U.S. may be 7 percent below normal from June 26 through June 30, David Salmon, a meteorologist at Weather Derivatives in Belton, Missouri, said in a note to clients today.

Power plants use about 30 percent of the nation’s gas supplies, according to the Energy Department.

Gas Stockpiles

Gas inventories are below average levels for this time of year. Stockpiles rose 69 billion cubic feet in the week ended June 10 to 2.256 trillion, 3.3 percent below the five-year average for the week and 10.9 percent below year-earlier levels, according to the Energy Department.

The number of U.S. natural gas rigs dropped by nine to 870 last week, the lowest level since May 20, according to data released June 17 by Baker Hughes Inc.

The combined oil and gas rig count rose by five to 1,860, the highest level since November 2008, Baker Hughes said on its website.

--Editors: Bill Banker, Richard Stubbe

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Buurma in New York at cbuurma1@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net


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