Natural Gas Heads for Biggest Weekly Drop in New York Since 1996

Natural gas futures fell for a fifth day in New York and headed for the biggest weekly drop in 17 years after a government report showed a U.S. stockpile decline that was smaller than forecasts.

Natural gas for April delivery fell as much as 1.3 percent in today’s electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at $4.486 per million British thermal units at 10:08 a.m. in Singapore. Volume for all futures traded was 86 percent below the 100-day average. Gas is down 27 percent this week, approaching the biggest slump since December 1996, and down 9.2 percent for February.

U.S. inventories fell 95 billion cubic feet in the week ended Feb. 21 to 1.348 trillion, the Energy Information Administration said yesterday. Analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg showed a withdrawal of 102 billion. Commodity Weather Group LLC expects normal or warmer-than-average weather for parts of the Great Plains and West March 9 through March 13.

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