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natural gas futures up 7%

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    Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Natural gas rose for the first time in three days on speculation colder weather will stoke demand for the heating fuel.

    Gas soared as much as 8.2 percent on forecasts for cold weather. Lower temperatures are probable across much of the U.S. beginning Nov. 17, the Climate Prediction Center in Camp Springs, Maryland, said in its 14-day outlook. Temperatures in Chicago may fall to 25 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 3.9 Celsius) by Nov. 20 from 44 today, according to

    ``The realization of winter has finally woken up the trolls,'' said Michael Rose, a director of trading at Angus Jackson Inc. in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ``With the cold weather out there, natural gas is going up because it's the path of least resistance.''

    Natural gas for December delivery climbed 49.1 cents, or 7.3 percent, to settle at $7.248 per million British thermal units at 2:57 p.m. on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The gain was the biggest since Sept. 17, when gas advanced 8.7 percent.

    About 42 percent of U.S. natural gas demand comes from industrial and commercial users. The winter heating season, in which demand outstrips supply, begins in November. About 52 percent of U.S. households relay on the fuel for heat.

    High temperatures from the Great Lakes to the Northeast will be 20 to 30 degrees Fahrenheit, with lows below 10 in some areas, said Jim Rouiller, a senior energy meteorologist with Planalytics Inc. in Wayne, Pennsylvania.

    Gas in Storage

    Natural gas stockpiles for the week ended Oct. 31 totaled 3.405 trillion cubic feet, down 3.7 percent from year earlier, the Energy Department said Nov. 6. Inventories were 2.3 percent higher than the five-year average.

    ``The injection season is basically over,'' said Peter Linder, an analyst at DeltaOne Energy Fund in Calgary. ``We'll probably see one more week of injections and then start seeing withdrawals.''

    Natural gas futures will soon rise above $8 per million Btu, Linder said. ``We've seen the worst for natural gas.''

    Prices have dropped 47 percent from a 30-month intraday high of $13.694 on July 2 as the economic slowdown crimped industrial demand for the fuel.

    ``The first real blast of cold weather'' has increased buying, said Carl Neill, an energy analyst at Risk Management Inc. in Chicago. ``It's long overdue. Seasonally, the market should be higher.''

    The temperatures in New York may fall to as low as 27 degrees Fahrenheit by Nov. 20 from 63 degrees today, said.

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