Natural Gas Rebounds as U.S. Winter Storm Moves Toward Northeast

Natural gas rose for the second time in three days as a winter storm that iced streets and crippled power lines in the U.S. South moved toward the Northeast, bolstering demand for heating fuels.

Futures increased as much as 2.7 percent in New York. The storm may bring as much as 12 inches (30 centimeters) of snow to New York City and more to its northern and western suburbs, the National Weather Service said. U.S. gas stockpiles probably shrank for a 13th week, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts before Energy Information Administration data today.

Gas for March delivery climbed as much as 13.1 cents to $4.953 per million British thermal units in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $4.95 at 3:31 p.m. Singapore time. Prices have gained 17 percent this year.

Gas inventories are forecast to have decreased by 231 billion cubic feet in the week ended Feb. 7, according to the median estimate of 19 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. That’s more than the five-year average drop of 162 billion.

Stockpiles have fallen 50 percent to 1.923 trillion cubic feet in the 12 weeks through Jan. 31. Supplies will decline to 1.33 trillion by the end of March, when the heating season draws to a close, the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm, said in its monthly Short-Term Energy Outlook on Feb. 11.

An estimated 49 percent of U.S. households use the fuel for heating, with the largest users in the Midwest and the Northeast, EIA data show.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chou Hui Hong in Singapore at chong43@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Yee Kai Pin at kyee13@bloomberg.net

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