Natural gas futures advanced to a two-week high in New York on forecasts of cold weather that would stoke demand for the heating fuel. March gas options on the New York Mercantile Exchange expire today.
Gas gained as much as 4 percent, climbing for a second day. Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland, said temperatures may be below-normal in most of the central and eastern U.S. from March 2 through March 11. The low in Chicago on March 7 may be 16 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 Celsius), 12 less than usual, according to AccuWeather Inc.
“We’re seeing some cold here at the end of the season and the options expiration is giving us a little bit of a boost,” said Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut. “It looks like the outlook for two and a half weeks of cold might have caught the market a little short.”
Natural gas for March delivery rose 11 cents, or 3.3 percent, to $3.401 per million British thermal units at 8:50 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract touched $3.422, the highest intraday price since Feb. 7. The futures are up 33 percent from a year ago. Trading volume was more than double the 100-day average for the time of day.
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