Natural-gas Prices Turn Higher As U.S. Supplies Rise Less Than Expected

By Myra P. Saefong Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Natural-gas futures turned modestly higher on Thursday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported that supplies of the commodity rose by 15 billion cubic feet for the week ended March 18. That was below with the rise of between 18 billion and 22 billion cubic feet expected by analysts polled by Platts. The weekly climb, however, is the first one of the year, marking an end to the heating season. Total stocks now stand at 2.493 trillion cubic feet, up 1.02 trillion cubic feet from a year ago and 846 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. April natural gas rose about a penny to $1.80 per million British thermal units. Prices traded $1.785 before the supply data.

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