Natural gas, used to heat homes, plunges on mild weather

AP News
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Posted: Dec 14, 2015 5:12 PM

NEW YORK (AP) — Mild temperatures have cooled demand for natural gas, sending its price down sharply Monday. Stocks of companies that produce natural gas also fell.

Natural gas is used to heat more than half of U.S. households, according to the American Petroleum Institute. But with unseasonably warm temperatures, there's less demand for it. Temperatures in Chicago, Detroit, New York and Washington have been as much as 25 degrees above normal in the past five days, according to AccuWeather. And the weather forecasting company expects the mild weather to continue next week, with temperatures expected to be between 20 and 30 degrees above normal.

Besides warm weather, there's also an oversupply of natural gas that's pushing prices down. Raymond James analysts said last week, in a note to clients, that they expected natural gas prices to remain "depressed" into next year due to the oversupply.

On Monday, the price of natural gas fell 4.8 percent to $1.90 per 1,000 cubic feet.

Shares of natural gas producers sank to multi-year lows Monday.

Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s stock fell to a 15-year low, while shares of Southwestern Energy Co. and Devon Energy Corp. both fell to 11-year lows.