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NYMEX Jan natural gas futures up 3.6 cents before contract expiry

After dropping 2.4 cents Tuesday to settle at $2.643/MMBtu, NYMEX January natural gas futures dipped then rallied ahead of Wednesday's open and the contract's expiry at the close of business, as traders mulled the likely impact on demand from weather outlooks.

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At 6:52 am ET (1152 GMT) the contract was 3.6 cents higher at the overnight high of $2.679/MMBtu while trading as low as $2.598/MMBtu.

The latest temperature forecasts show are dwindling area of colder weather, implying diminishing support for heating-related demand.

Offsetting these, however, are National Weather Service 6-10 day forecasts showing the country split between below-average temperatures over nearly the entire eastern two-thirds of the US and above-average temperatures over much of the West, separated by a narrow band of average temperatures over a few areas of the Rockies into fringes of Texas.

Further out to the 8-14 day period, temperatures over a large area of the central US and the edges of the Southeast show moderate to average readings, shrinking the scope of below-average temperatures to the eastern third of the US and parts of the Gulf Coast.

Above-average temperatures overtake almost all of the West and patches of the Midwest and Gulf Coast.