Natural gas stockpiles rose less than expected last week, the government said Thursday.
The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report that natural gas inventories held in underground storage in the lower 48 states grew by 12 billion cubic feet to about 1.64 trillion cubic feet for the week ended March 26.
Analysts expected a boost of between 14 billion and 18 billion cubic feet, according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos.
The inventory level was 10.8 percent above the five-year average of about 1.48 trillion cubic feet, and 1 percent below last year's storage level of about 1.65 trillion cubic feet, according to the government data.
Natural gas rose by 18.2 cents to $4.051 per 1,000 cubic feet on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
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