UPDATE 3-U.S. natgas futures gain for 3rd day, end week up 3 pct

Fri Nov 22, 2013 3:28pm EST
 
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* Cold extended weather forecasts boost prices

* Comfortable storage, record production limit upside

By Joe Silha

NEW YORK, Nov 22 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended higher for a third straight day on Friday, with the front-month contract posting a fresh one-month high in the face of forecasts for cold weather late this week and next week that should lift demand for heating.

The nearby contract finished the week up 3 percent after gaining 4.2 percent in the previous two weeks. The combined rise of 7.3 percent was the biggest three-week climb in nearly three months.

"We've got some supportive weather coming in, and the storage report (on Thursday) was surprisingly bullish," said Steve Mosley at The SMC Report in Arkansas.

MDA Weather Services expects mostly cold temperatures to stretch across the eastern two-thirds of the country for the next two weeks, with only a slight moderation late in that period.

Front-month gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange ended up 6.6 cents, or 1.8 percent, at $3.768 per million British thermal units after climbing to a one-month high of $3.779.

Chart traders said Friday's close above near resistance in the low-$3.70s could set the stage for more upside. Early bouts of cold this month have helped drive prices up sharply since the 2/1-2-month low of $3.379 posted in early November.   Continued...