NEW YORK–Natural gas snapped a six-session losing streak Friday but held
near recent lows on expectations that above-average temperatures would limit
demand for the heating fuel.
Natural gas for January delivery rose 7 cents, to $3.72 a
million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Prices have slumped this week as forecasts called for warmer-than-normal
temperatures. Winter is typically the strongest season for natural-gas demand,
as half of U.S. households use gas as their primary heating fuel.
Weather forecasts were little changed Friday. But the coldest weather often
comes in January and February, leaving traders hesitant to bet on larger price
declines before seeing how the rest of the winter will shape up, said Teri
Viswanath, director of commodity strategy for natural gas at BNP Paribas SA, in
“Given just how far prices have fallen in a relatively compressed period of
time, it appears that traders are beginning to question further declines,” Ms.
Viswanath said. “Without verification of continued mild weather in January, it
appears that the sell-off has momentarily stalled.”
Natural gas for next-day delivery at the benchmark Henry Hub in Louisiana
recently traded at $3.4175/mmBtu, according to Intercontinental Exchange Inc.,
versus Thursday’s average of $3.5478/mmBtu.
Natural gas for next-day delivery at Transcontinental Zone 6 in New York
traded between $3.15 and $3.50/mmBtu, compared with $3.5345/mmBtu Thursday.