As forecasters watch for signs of heat returning next month, a drop in the latest production data was helping to lift natural gas futures prices early Wednesday. The expiring Nymex June contract was up 4.1 cents to $2.623/MMBtu shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET. July was up 4.5 cents to $2.629.

According to Bespoke Weather Services, the latest forecasts as of early Wednesday had “nudged a little warmer” but with similar overall themes, including the easing off of heat in the eastern and southeastern part of the country by next week, with warmer conditions in the western United States.

“We are watching for the next potential window for more heat to come back into the East toward the middle of June, but there are some glaring model differences” between the European and American guidance on how quickly heat might return, Bespoke said. “Production is slightly lower this morning, pending revisions, which could take it back up later today, and we are seeing additional improvement in burns.”

Still, the firm said balances likely would need to be tighter to sustain any rally and noted that the early gains “could simply be a continuation of the trend toward strong expiries.”

Radiant Solutions observed “no significant changes” in its latest six- to 10-day outlook outside of some cooler trends in the Northwest. The forecast continues to hold above normal temperatures across the South for the period.

“Aboves are also forecast in California and the Rockies,” Radiant said. “The period averages in the normal category in the East, where an early half round of below normal temperatures accompanies a trough. Moderation is expected here late; although, a general cool risk exists based on the models.”

As for the 11-15 day period, “the forecast is mostly consistent with previous expectations...continuing to feature a Central focus for above normal temperatures.”

The pattern points to temperatures near normal along the East Coast during the time frame, according to Radiant.

The June contract has dropped sharply since reaching an intraday high at $2.70 early last week, but the sell-off in the natural gas futures market could pause in the near-term, according to EBW Analytics Group.

Wednesday’s trading pattern “suggests that a period of consolidation is likely,” according to EBW CEO Andy Weissman. “Prices plunged early in the day, with the June contract testing support as low as $2.535 before rebounding. Prices then steadily moved higher throughout the course of the day, with the June contract” settling near its high for the day.

“This trading pattern suggests that natural gas is not yet ready to move lower. Instead, the most likely scenario is for the front-month contract to test resistance between $2.60 and $2.63 over the next few days.”

July crude oil futures had dropped $1.97 to $57.17/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while June RBOB gasoline was off about 4.9 cents to $1.9075/gal.