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Natural Gas Rises on Outlook for Above-Average Stockpile Drop

Natural gas futures gained in New York for the first time in seven days before a government report tomorrow may show this winter’s biggest stockpile drop.

Gas gained as much as 1.5 percent as analysts expect the report to show a stockpile decline of 205 billion cubic feet in the week ended Jan. 25, based on a median of nine estimates compiled by Bloomberg. A drop that size would be the biggest since February 2011. The five-year average decline for the week is 178 billion, according to the Energy Information Agency.

“The report is going to reflect the coldest temperatures in recent memory,” said Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group in Chicago. “There could be some short covering ahead of what may be the biggest drawdown all year. This is going to be the granddaddy of them all, unless the weather patterns change significantly colder.”

Natural gas for March delivery rose 2.6 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $3.284 per million British thermal units at 9:17 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Trading was down 27 percent from the 100-day average for the time of day. The February contract, which expired yesterday, fell to $3.226, the lowest settlement price since Jan. 10. The futures have slipped 2 percent this month.

To contact the reporter on this story: Naureen S. Malik in New York at;

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