Monday, October 27, 2008

U.S. Natural Gas Future Touches $5.99/mmBtu

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas futures in New York fell on signs supply will be ample for the winter heating season and on concern the weaker economy will slow demand.

Stockpiles of natural gas now exceed the five-year average of 3.327 trillion cubic feet on hand at the start of the heating season in early November by 93 billion cubic feet.

``We're basically well-supplied and there are no disruptions on the horizon,'' said Michael Rose, a director of trading at Angus Jackson Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ``There's also some liquidation going on across all commodities.''

Natural gas for November delivery fell 6.8 cents, or 1.1 percent, to $6.171 per million British thermal units at 12:49 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Futures touched $5.99, the lowest since Sept. 24, 2007, when they traded at $5.916. Natural gas is heading for its fourth month of declines, the longest streak since 2001.

``You have some liquidation on margin calls,'' Rose said. ``People are trying to free up equity.''

Stockpiles advanced 70 billion cubic feet in the week ended Oct. 17 to 3.347 trillion cubic feet, the Energy Department said Oct. 23. Sufficient supplies in storage help utilities and large industrial consumers meet demand during the cold-weather season, when usage outstrips production.

About 40 percent of natural gas demand in the U.S. originates with commercial and industrial consumers, who tend to cut back in times of economic weakness.

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