Cold Weather Sends Natural Gas Prices Soaring


Natural gas prices rose sharply Wednesday, as cold weather continued to blanket large parts of the country. Metals prices were mixed, while agricultural futures fell.

Natural gas soared 52 cents, or 10 percent, to $5.56 per 1,000 cubic feet Wednesday. That’s the highest price since February 2010.

The rough winter weather in much of the country, including ice storms in the South, gave another boost to natural gas, the most widely used source of heating in the country.

U.S. crude for March delivery slipped 5 cents, to close at $97.36 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Wholesale gasoline gained 3 cents, to $2.66 a gallon, and heating oil advanced 6 cents, to $3.18 a gallon.

In metals trading, gold for February delivery rose $11.40, to $1,262.20 an ounce. Silver for March delivery edged up 5 cents, to $19.55 an ounce. Other metals fell.

High-grade copper fell a penny, to $3.24 a pound. April platinum fell $1.30, to $1,408.10 an ounce, and March palladium fell $5.35, to $711.15 an ounce.

Grains and bean prices fell.

March wheat declined 14.5 cents to $5.515 a bushel. Corn for March delivery fell 4.5 cents to $4.275 a bushel and March soybeans lost 16.25 cents to $12.6925 a bushel.