Natural-gas Prices Hold On To Earlier Gains As Rise In U.S. Supply Comes In a Bit Smaller Than Expected

By Myra P. Saefong Markets MarketWatch Pulse

Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration on Thursday showed that domestic supplies of natural gas rose by 43 billion cubic feet for the week ended Aug. 18. On average, analysts were looking for a build of 46 billion cubic feet, according to a survey of analysts conducted by S&P Global Platts. Total stocks now stand at 3.125 trillion cubic feet, down 223 billion cubic feet from a year ago, but 45 billion cubic feet above the five-year average, the government said. Prices for natural gas also got a boost from forecasts that Tropical Storm Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico may become a hurricane by Friday, which could significantly disrupt energy operations in the region. September natural gas rose 4.3 cents, or 1.4%, from Wednesday's settlement to $2.971 per million British thermal units. It traded at $2.967 before the data.

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