Natural Gas Prices Up 18 Percent This Week


Concerns about another cold front enveloping the country this week pushed natural gas prices higher Friday, helping the commodity finish its biggest week in two years.

March natural gas rose seven cents Friday, or 1 percent, to $6.14 per 1,000 cubic feet. Natural gas was up 18 percent last week, the most since April 2012.

Natural gas is by far the most popular form of heating in the U.S. The cold has caused demand to soar, and supplies have run low in parts of the country.

U.S. natural gas supplies stood at 1.443 billion cubic feet two weeks ago, down 34 percent compared to the country’s five-year average, the Energy Department said Thursday.

The last time natural gas prices were this high was November 2008.

Other energy-related commodities fell Friday. Heating oil, a heating source used primarily in the Northeast, fell 4 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $3.04 a gallon. U.S. crude for April delivery fell 55 cents to close at $102.20 a barrel.

Wholesale gasoline fell 1.8 cents to close at $3.003 a gallon.

In agricultural commodities, wheat fell 8 cents, or 1.3 percent, to $6.055 a bushel. Corn fell three cents, or 0.6 percent, to $4.53 a bushel, and soybeans rose 13 cents, or 1 percent, to $13.62 a bushel.

Precious and industrial metals futures rose. Gold increased $6.70, or 0.5 percent, to $1,323.60 an ounce, and silver rose 10 cents, or 0.5 percent, to $21.78 an ounce. Palladium for March delivery rose $3.70, or 0.5 percent, to $740 an ounce, while platinum rose $15.40, or 1.1 percent, to $1,427.90 an ounce.

High-grade copper rose a penny, or 0.4 percent, to $3.29 a pound.