Natural gas rallies to 1-1/2 year highs

CommoditiesMar 27, 2013 11:30AM ET - Natural gas futures rallied to the highest level in 18-months on Wednesday as forecasts for cooler-than-normal April weather bolstered expectations for increased home heating fuel demand.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, natural gas futures for delivery in May traded at USD4.056 per million British thermal units during U.S. morning trade, advancing 1.64%.

Gas prices have rallied in recent sessions as unseasonably cold spring weather boosted demand for the home heating fuel. The increase in demand has raised expectations that a glut in natural gas inventory levels could be reduced.

The heating season from November through March is the peak demand period for U.S. gas consumption, particularly in the Northeast and Midwest. Nearly 50% of all U.S. households use gas for heating.

Natural-gas stockpiles are currently at 1,876 billion cubic feet, above the five-year average level for this time of year after mild weather during the 2012 winter curbed heating demand and saw inventories swell.

Elsewhere on the NYMEX, light sweet crude oil futures for delivery in May were down 0.5% to trade at USD95.85 a barrel, while heating oil for May delivery was almost unchanged at USD3.017 per gallon.

Natural gas rallies to 1-1/2 year highs

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