Unmoved by somewhat hotter trends in the overnight guidance, natural gas futures were trading slightly lower early Wednesday. The expiring July Nymex futures contract was off 1.1 cents to $2.297/MMBtu at around 8:30 a.m. ET; August was down 1.1 cents to $2.275.

A hotter change overnight for both the six- to 10-day and 11-15 day periods in the eastern half of the Lower 48, including into parts of the South, led Bespoke Weather Services to raise its total gas-weighted degree day (GWDD) expectations early Wednesday.

“This places total demand within a few GWDDs of last year’s levels for the same dates,” the forecaster said. “That is still a pace we don’t expect to continue, but the trend toward cooling things back toward normal is slower today. We are not seeing extreme heat in any one region, but just broad coverage of above normal temperatures combined with a lack of any notable cool anomalies outside of near the West Coast over the next week or so.”

After strong finishes for front month contracts in recent months, the July contract could see strength heading into expiry Wednesday, supported by improvements in the latest fundamentals data, according to Bespoke.

“The totality of the data, while not as strong as last week in terms of balances, is improved today,” Bespoke said. “Production is starting off slightly lower than the starting point the last few days, and we see a little improvement in preliminary burns this morning.”

EBW Analytics Group CEO Andy Weissman was similarly looking for a strong finish for the July contract, noting that technical support held around $2.25 in Tuesday’s trading.

“Weather forecast signals for July are still mixed,” Weissman said. “While early July weather is coming in reasonably hot, most forecasts still call for temperatures closer to seasonal norms during the remainder of the month. With support solidly in place, however, and weather-driven demand in Week 3 well above 40 Bcf/d, we expect the July natural gas contract to follow the typical pattern and rally further before it goes off the board this afternoon.”

Radiant Solutions said its latest six- to 10-day outlook carries higher confidence thanks to better model agreement, with the period showing above normal temperatures for the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

“Changes from previous are small but lean warmer in the Eastern Half and cooler in the West,” the forecaster said. “The focus of anomalous heat is early in the Midwest, when temperatures are near 90 degrees in Chicago. Mid-90s and hotter peaks are around mid-period in parts of the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.”

Further out in the 11-15 day period, Radiant noted a cool change in the Midwest compared to previous expectations.

“Warm changes, however, are in the South, where hotter than normal conditions are associated with Arctic blocking,” Radiant said. “The period averages above normal with temperatures in the Northwest and parts of the East, while near normal readings encompass the Midcontinent.”

August crude oil futures were up $1.23 to $59.06/bbl shortly after 8:30 a.m. ET, while July RBOB gasoline was trading about 5.7 cents higher at $1.9337/gal.