Natural gas prices dip as U.S. inventory draw disappoints traders

Domestic natural gas prices fell on Thursday as the Energy Department’s report on the nation’s commercial gas inventories disappointed traders.

The Energy Information Administration said gas stocks dropped by 53 billion cubic feet last week, edging down to 2.24 trillion cubic feet. Analysts had believed U.S. natural gas inventories would fall by as much as 72 billion cubic feet, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The nation’s gas stockpile has come down from 2.48 trillion cubic feet a year ago, but still higher than the five-year average of 1.85 trillion cubic feet.

Benchmark natural gas prices initially dropped as much as 10 cents in early trading Wednesday to $2.88 per million British thermal units. The price later rose by 4 cents.