NEW YORK, Sept 27 U.S. natural gas futures held
gains early Thursday, with the front-month contract still
trading near its high for the year despite a government report
that showed a weekly inventory build above market expectations.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration report showed
total domestic gas inventories rose last week by 80 billion
cubic feet to 3.576 trillion cubic feet. Traders and analysts
polled by Reuters had expected a 76 bcf gain.
At 10:32 a.m. EDT (1432 GMT), front-month gas futures
on the New York Mercantile Exchange were up 5.6 cents, or nearly
2 percent, at $3.271 per million British thermal units after
climbing earlier to a new 2012 high of $3.287.
Just prior to release of the weekly storage data at 10:30
a.m., the front month was trading in the $3.265 area.
(Reporting By Joe Silha)