Natural Gas Trades Near One-Month High on Warm Weather Outlook

  • `No sign' of cooler air coming with start of October
  • Higher prices may be needed to `keep the producers engaged'

Natural gas futures traded near a one-month high as forecasters predicted the eastern half of the U.S. would be warmer than usual for the rest of September.

Readings may be higher than normal in the Northeast and Central U.S. through Sept. 29, according to MDA Weather Services. Madison, Wisconsin, may reach 77 degrees Fahrenheit (25 Celsius) on Sept. 28, 10 above average, AccuWeather Inc. data show.

“We’re seeing a milder forecast, and no sign that cool air is going to build at the start of October,” said Teri Viswanath, director of commodities strategy at BNP Paribas SA in New York. “It appears an early start to the season is off the table.”

Natural gas for October delivery rose 0.6 cent to $2.764 per million British thermal units at 10:17 a.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Volume was 5.9 percent below the 100-day average.

Natural gas prices have been trading in a narrow range of $2.50 per million Btu to $3 since late May. The warmer-than-usual September weather has propped up prices, which have climbed for four straight days and rose 2.4 percent Monday to the highest since Aug. 14.

“We’ve had a pretty good run to the upside,” Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at the Price Futures Group in Chicago, said by phone. “I think the market is looking ahead to winter. It seems to suggest they may need a higher price to keep the producers engaged as we get closer.”

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