Natural Gas Futures Rise in Survey as Cold Weather Spurs Demand

Nov. 15 (Bloomberg)-- Natural gas futures may climb next week as a blast of cold air spurs demand for the heating fuel, a Bloomberg News survey showed.

Eight of 11 analysts, or 73 percent, forecast that gas futures will rise on the New York Mercantile Exchange through Nov. 22. Two, or 18 percent, said futures will decline and one predicted that prices will stay the same. Last week, 50 percent of participants said gas prices would advance.

Temperatures from the East Coast into the Midwest and Texas will be below normal from Nov. 19 through Nov. 28, said MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The low in Chicago will drop to 17 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 Celsius) on Nov. 27, and Boston may be 23 degrees, 12 below normal for both cities, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

“The recent abrupt change in the weather, flipping from above normal to below normal in November, opens the door to possible colder revisions for the December forecasts,” said Teri Viswanath, director of commodities strategy at BNP Paribas SA in New York. “We see prices moving higher next week.”

Natural gas for December delivery gained 4.6 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $3.605 per million British thermal units the first four days of this week on the New York exchange. Gas is up 7.6 percent this year.

About 49 percent of U.S. households use gas for heating, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

The gas survey has correctly forecast the direction of prices 50 percent of the time since its June 2004 introduction.

Bloomberg’s survey of natural-gas analysts and traders asks for an assessment of whether Nymex natural-gas futures will probably rise, fall or remain neutral in the coming week. This week’s results were:

RISE FALL NEUTRAL

8 2 1

To contact the reporter on this story: Naureen S. Malik in New York at nmalik28@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Stets at dstets@bloomberg.net

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