Natural gas prices surged in 2016

Energy prices rose more than prices for any other commodity in 2016, with natural gas experiencing the largest percentage increase,  according to a year end analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Energy prices rose 48 percent in 2016, more than double the increase in price for industrial metals, the next highest price increase at 22 percent, according to department’s analysis.

Natural gas prices showed the largest rise in 2016 — prices rose nearly 60 percent — even though prices began the year very low. Excess natural gas at the end of 2015 and warmer winter weather kept prices low at the start of 2016. But the summer of 2016 reversed the trend–natural gas-generated electricity hit record levels and by summer’s end, expectations for a colder winter drove natural gas prices up.

While the winter of 2017 is off to a warm start, and natural gas prices plunged on Tuesday, analysts expect the colder forecast to hold, and combine with low supplies of natural gas to drive prices up.