Natural gas futures declined for a fourth consecutive day on concern that Hurricane Sandy could cut consumption.
Gas for November delivery fell 2.4 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $3.376 per million British thermal units in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange at 8:35 a.m. London time. The contract lost 3.4 cents, or 1 percent, on Oct. 26 to settle at $3.400 per million Btu, capping its first weekly drop since September.
The November contract expires today. The more active December future was at $3.375 per million Btu, down 2.5 cents.
Sandy, currently off the coast of North Carolina, is expected to come ashore late today in southern New Jersey, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The storm will bring heavy rain and high winds, “which could knock out large areas of electricity,” Gene McGillian, an analyst and broker at Tradition Energy in Stamford, Connecticut, said in an Oct. 26 note to clients. Power producers account for about 36 percent of U.S. gas consumption, according to the Energy Department.
Heating demand in the U.S. will be 14 percent above normal in the week from Oct. 27 to Nov. 2, according to a forecast from Weather Derivatives LLC. The south-central region may see heating usage double during the period, the company said.
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