Gas Trades Near Two-Week High; Morgan Stanley Cuts Forecast

Natural gas futures gained for a fourth day in New York as meteorologists predicted below-normal temperatures that would boost heating-fuel demand.

Gas advanced as much as 1.7 percent after a forecast from MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, showed colder- than-average weather in the eastern half of the U.S. from Jan. 20 through Jan. 24. Morgan Stanley cut its estimate for 2013 prices to $3.50 per million British thermal units from $3.90, citing warmer-than-expected weather in early winter.

“If this is the beginning of a sustained period of cold weather, we can certainly see prices trade in the $3.25 to $3.50 range for a while,” said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York. “We’ll have to see how cold the weather actually gets.”

Natural gas for February delivery rose 3.9 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $3.412 per million British thermal units at 9:07 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures earlier advanced to $3.431 per million Btu, the highest price since Dec. 31. Trading volume was 36 percent above the 100-day average. Gas has climbed 28 percent from a year ago.

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