As traders and analysts considered the implications of another smaller than expected withdrawal from the latest government inventory data, natural gas futures hovered close to even in early trading Friday. The April Nymex contract was off 0.4 cents to $2.477/MMBtu at around 8:50 a.m. ET.

NGI Morning Natural Gas Price & Markets Coverage

The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) on Thursday reported a withdrawal of 11 Bcf from natural gas storage for the week ended March 12 – shy of market expectations and well off the five-year average withdrawal of 59 Bcf for the comparable week.  

The decrease during the March 12 week lowered inventories to 1,782 Bcf, versus a year-earlier level of 2,035 Bcf and the five-year average of 1,875 Bcf. 

“Compared to gas-weighted degree days and normal seasonality, this week’s...