Natural Gas Rises to 18-Month High on Outlook for April Cold

Natural gas futures advanced to an 18-month high in New York on forecasts of colder-than-normal April weather that would increase heating-fuel demand, widening a year-on-year inventory deficit.

Gas gained as much as 2.2 percent after MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, predicted below-normal temperatures in the Midwest from April 1 through April 10. Stockpiles slid by 89 billion cubic feet last week, according to the median of 10 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Supplies gained 45 billion in the same week last year.

“The forecasts are colder-than-normal and we’re going to have a pretty bullish inventory report tomorrow,” said Dominick Chirichella, senior partner at the Energy Management Institute in New York. “Ending the season with stockpiles strongly below last year’s level is a tremendous accomplishment, considering where we started.”

Natural gas for May delivery rose 6.5 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $4.056 per million British thermal units at 9:10 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The futures are up 21 percent this year. Prices earlier climbed to $4.078 per million Btu, the highest since Sept. 15, 2011. Trading volume was 69 percent above the average for the time of day.

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