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Front-month US natgas futures hit 2012 high after EIA data

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NEW YORK, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Front-month U.S. natural gasfutures shot to a new high for the year early on Thursday aftera government report showed a weekly inventory build well belowmarket expectations.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said domestic gasinventories rose last week by 72 billion cubic feet to 3.725trillion cubic feet. Traders and analysts polled by Reuters hadexpected an 80-bcf gain.

At about 10:31 a.m. EDT (1431 GMT), front-month gas futures

on the New York Mercantile Exchange were up 11.7 cents,or 3.4 percent, at $3.592 per million British thermal units, thehighest for the nearby contract since last December.

Prior to the release of the weekly storage data at 10:30a.m., the front month was trading in the $3.515 area.

(Reporting by Joe Silha; Editing by Dale Hudson)

((joe.silha@thomsonreuters.com)(+1 646 223 6071)(ReutersMessaging: joe.silha.reuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MARKETS NYMEX/NATGAS