Natural gas boosted by cold weather forecasts

Natural gas has risen today amidst fears of another US cold snap and news of a record drop in stores of the heating fuel.

The recent bout of below-normal temperatures in the US has contributed to a huge decline in US supplies of natural gas. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said today that gas held in storage fell by 287 billion cubic feet last week, the biggest drop on record. Expectations had been for an even bigger drop, though, which helped knock prices back down from the day’s highs.

By mid-afternoon in New York, natural gas futures for February were up 1.41% at $4.378 per million BTU, having earlier reached as high as $45.06, the highest level in more than three weeks.

The price is being supported by signs that more cold weather could be on its way. Current mild conditions are expected to give way to another blast from the polar vortex, with lows forecast for next Tuesday.

The US National Weather Service warns blizzard conditions will affect parts of the Upper Midwest today, and colder air will be moving down over the weekend from Canada. While not as severe as the recent frigid weather, the potential is there to boost fuel consumption.

Nearly half of US household are heated by natural gas according to the EIA.

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