Natural Gas Advances on Estimates of Above-Normal Inventory Drop
Natural gas futures climbed in New York for the first time in four days after analysts predicted government data would show a larger-than-usual withdrawal from inventories of the heating fuel for last week.
Gas rose as much as 1.5 percent before the Energy Department report, scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. in Washington, which may show that stockpiles fell 191 billion cubic feet in the seven days ended Jan. 4, based on the median of 24 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. The five-year average decline for the week is 121 billion, according to FirstEnergy Capital Corp. in Calgary.
“The storage report is the market’s focus at the moment,” said Tom Saal, senior vice president at FCStone Latin America LLC in Miami. “It was pretty cold last week and we could have some extreme price action after the data comes out.”
Natural gas for February delivery rose 2.3 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $3.136 per million British thermal units at 0:07 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading volume was down 35 percent from the 100-day average. Prices are up 6.6 percent from a year ago.
Gas tumbled to $3.05 per million Btu on Jan. 2, the lowest intraday price since Sept. 26. The futures have dropped 18 percent from a one-year intraday high of $3.933 on Nov. 23.
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