NEW YORK (AP) — A 10-month slide in natural gas prices took a breather Thursday after the government said U.S. supplies didn’t grow as much as expected.
The futures contract price added less than a penny to $1.993 per 1,000 cubic feet in New York on Thursday. It’s a turnaround from Wednesday, when fears of surging supplies sent natural gas futures tumbling to $1.984, the lowest price since Jan. 28, 2002. Natural gas prices have been falling since last June.
Prices rebounded after the Energy Information Administration reported that last week’s growth in supplies was less than what analysts expected. U.S. supplies are still about 59 percent higher than the five-year average, however.
Oil prices also rose on fresh signs of a strengthening economy.
Benchmark West Texas Intermediate crude gained 87 cents at $103.57 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, which prices oil imported by U.S. refineries, added $1.10 to $120.97 per barrel in London.
Analysts pointed to signs of strength in China, the world’s second-largest economy, where the central bank reported a surprising jump in new loans. U.S. businesses also sold more goods abroad, pushing exports to an all-time high.
U.S. retail gasoline prices continued to slide, losing nearly 3 cents in the past week to a national average of $3.91 per gallon, according to AAA, Wright Express and Oil Price Information Service. Prices have leveled off during the past few days, though forecasters, including those at the Energy Information Administration, said the average for gasoline could still top the $4 mark over the next several weeks.
In other energy trading, heating oil added 3.4 cents to $3.1490 per gallon and gasoline futures increased by 4.9 cents to $3.3445 per gallon.
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