U.S. Gas Extends Winning Streak on Power Plant Demand Forecast

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U.S. natural gas advanced for a fourth day, extending the longest winning streak since January, as low prices boosted the outlook for power demand.

Gas consumption from electricity generators was up 20 percent Wednesday from a year earlier, data from PointLogic Energy show. Futures tumbled to a 17-year low last week as unseasonably warm weather eroded heating demand, widening a supply glut.

Mild weather and surging output from shale basins has pushed gas stockpiles to the biggest surplus over the five-year average since 2012, pressuring prices lower. Without a scorching summer or a decline in output, inventories will test physical storage limits in the fall.

“Low gas prices have wrecked the coal industry, so we’re seeing electricity generators increasingly fueled by natural gas,” said John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital LLC in New York. “The decline in gas futures is attracting some value hunters.”

Natural gas for April delivery rose 4 cents, or 2.3 percent, to settle at $1.752 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the highest close since Feb. 26. Prices are down 25 percent this year.