Natural gas prices fell to a four-week low Thursday after the U.S. government reported a sharp buildup in the country’s natural-gas storage levels.
The price of natural gas fell 15 cents, or 3.4 percent, to $4.40 per thousand cubic feet, the lowest since late May.
The Energy Department said U.S. natural-gas inventories rose by 110 billion cubic feet last week, much more than investors expected. In the summer, natural gas is primarily used to fire on-demand power plants when there is a need for additional electricity, particularly on hot summer days. This causes inventory levels to be somewhat volatile.
Other energy commodities also fell. Crude oil fell 66 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $105.84 a barrel. Wholesale-gasoline futures fell less than a cent to $3.09 a gallon. Heating oil fell a penny to $3.01 a gallon.
In metals trading, gold for August delivery fell $5.60, or 0.4 percent, to $1,317 an ounce; and silver edged a fraction of a penny lower to $21.11 an ounce.
Platinum for July delivery fell $3.10, or 0.2 percent, to $1,470.10 an ounce; and palladium rose $2.55, or 0.3 percent, to $835.80 an ounce.
Crop prices rose. Wheat rose less than a penny to $5.85 a bushel; and corn rose 3 cents, or 0.7 percent, to $4.43 a bushel. Soybeans rose 15 cents, or 1.2 percent, to $12.44 a bushel.