Wednesday, July 16, 2008

U.S. Natural Gas Price Falls 4% on Fed Chief Economy Assessment

July 15 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures fell to the lowest in almost seven weeks on concern demand will slow, after Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said risks to U.S. growth have increased.

Gas fell after Bernanke, in Senate testimony, said there are ``significant downside risks to the outlook for growth.'' About 31 percent of the natural gas consumed in the U.S. is used by industrial companies, according to Energy Department data.

``Bernanke is saying the U.S. is really starting to falter,'' said Chris Jarvis, president of Caprock Risk Management LLC in Hampton Falls, New Hampshire. ``There is growing risk the U.S. could fall into a major recession, which would drag on the global economies.''

Natural gas for August delivery fell 48.2 cents, or 4 percent, to settle at $11.477 per million British thermal units at 3:16 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange, the lowest closing price since May 29.

The Fed chief abandoned the message of the Fed's June policy statement that downside risks to growth had ``diminished somewhat,'' while maintaining a warning on inflation in semiannual testimony on the economy to the Senate Banking Committee.

Crude oil futures for August delivery fell for the first time in a week, dropping $6.44, or 4.4 percent, to settle at $138.74 a barrel on the New York.

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