Crude, gas markets seesaw

Crude and natural gas futures prices peaked in intraday trading Feb. 1 at their highest levels in weeks before spiraling down among mixed market signals.The March natural gas contract traded as high as $9.83/MMbtu on the New York Mercantile Exchange before forecasts of more moderate weather spurred a steep slide for natural gas and heating oil. The March contract for benchmark US light, sweet crudes topped out at $69/bbl in NYMEX intraday trading Feb. 1 but fell to a $64.68/bbl closing Feb. 2, when gas finished at $8.35/MMbtu.Despite a sharp drop since December, natural gas is still so expensive that it is shutting down US fertilizer plants. “Producers in this gas-intensive sector a...

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