NEW YORK–Natural-gas futures retreated from $4 Thursday after a weekly stockpile update showed a larger surplus than expected.
Producers added 90 billion cubic feet of gas to storage for the week ended Sept. 12, the U.S. Energy Information Administration said. The addition was 1 bcf larger than the 89 bcf consensus average expectations of analysts and brokers in The Wall Street Journal survey.
Natural gas for October delivery dipped as low as $3.897 a million British thermal units, losing 1.9% in the minute after the data release. It gained some of that back and the front-month contract recently traded down 9 cents, or 2.1%, for the day at $3.91 a million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
Traders use the EIA update to gauge how quickly stockpiles are recovering from high demand that drained them to 11-year lows this winter. Last week’s addition refilled stockpiles to 2.9 trillion cubic feet, about 13% below the five-year average level for that week of the year. It had been at less than half of the average at the start of spring.