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Natural gas prices fall
NEW YORK—Natural gas prices fell yesterday as winter headed into its final months with plenty of gas still on hand across the country. Natural gas futures for March gave up 18.2 cents, or 4 per cent, to settle at US$4.319 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That's a ten per cent drop from Friday. The winter has been colder than normal in many parts of the country, but some forecasts see temperatures moderating around mid-February. That has created uncertainty about how much more natural gas will be used before spring and warmer weather arrive.
The latest report from the Energy Department on Thursday said the amount of natural gas in underground storage fell last week, but supplies remain above the five-year average.PFGBest analyst Phil Flynn said temperatures need to fall a lot more than they have so far this winter to see an impact on natural gas prices. In other energy trading, oil prices fell on a batch of disappointing economic news. Benchmark oil for March delivery lost US$1.69 to settle at US$85.64 a barrel on the Nymex.
The Commerce Department said durable goods orders, excluding transportation, rose 0.5 per cent last month following a much stronger 4.5 per cent November increase. Yet overall demand for durables fell for a second straight month. Durable goods are factory products expected to be used for at least three years, like appliances. In addition, the Labor department said the number of people applying for unemployment benefits rose last week.
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