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Natural Gas Drops a Second Day on Milder U.S. Weather Forecast

Jan. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas dropped for a second day in New York on speculation that milder weather in the U.S. will reduce demand for heating fuel.

Futures for February delivery fell as much as 2.8 percent in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and were down 1.5 percent at $4.263 per million British thermal units when trading ended at 1:15 p.m. New York time.

There was no open-outcry trading today for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day holiday in the U.S., and today’s electronic trades will be counted for tomorrow’s settlement. Volume was 82 percent less than the 100-day average.

Milder weather next week is expected to replace this week’s colder-than-normal temperatures. The low in New York City on Jan. 30 may be 29 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 2 Celsius), 2 degrees above normal, according to a forecast from AccuWeather Inc., based in State College, Pennsylvania. That’s up from a low of 8 degrees predicted for Jan. 22.

The warmer forecast for the end of the month follows a 6.7 percent price jump last week as the government reported a record stockpile decline. Frigid arctic weather that traveled across the central and eastern U.S. helped draw down gas inventories by 287 billion cubic feet in the seven days ended Jan. 10, a record decline in data going back to 1994, an Energy Information Administration report showed.

An estimated 49 percent of U.S. households use gas for heating, said the EIA, the Energy Department’s statistical arm.

To contact the reporters on this story: Chou Hui Hong in Singapore at chong43@bloomberg.net; Anna Shiryaevskaya in London at ashiryaevska@bloomberg.net

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

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