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Natural gas prices up 18 percent this week

February 21, 2014

NEW YORK (AP) — Concerns about another cold front enveloping America next 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 (28.32 cubic meters). Natural gas is up 18 percent this 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 last week, 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. U.S. crude for April delivery fell 55 cents to close at $102.20 a barrel.

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.

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