Major overnight cold trends for early December helped send natural gas futures sharply higher in morning trading Wednesday ahead of the latest round of government inventory. The December Nymex contract was up 57.9 cents to $7.358/MMBtu at around 8:40 a.m. ET. January was up 51.0 cents to $7.916.

Storage Estimates

EBW Analytics Group analyst Eli Rubin attributed the early surge in natural gas prices Wednesday to a combination of “increasing early-December cold, bullish technicals and a correlation with strengthening” prices at the Dutch Title Transfer Facility benchmark.

The weather outlook for the Dec. 2-8 time frame “continues to turn sharply colder,” adding 10.1 gas-weighted heating degree days over the prior 24 hours as of early Wednesday, Rubin said.

“While the locus of cold is...