With forecasts through the first half of January sinking weather-driven demand expectations to open the new year, natural gas futures were down sharply in early trading Tuesday.

NGI Morning Natural Gas Price & Markets Coverage

The February Nymex contract was off 41.8 cents to $4.057/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.

Weather data over the weekend advertised a pattern that would deliver mild temperatures and result in lighter than normal natural gas demand throughout the first half of January, according to NatGasWeather.

“The reason for such light national demand is most of the southern half of the U.S. and up the Mid-Atlantic Coast will see highs in the 60s and 70s most of the next 15 days,” NatGasWeather said. Forecasts further showed “very little coverage of daytime highs below freezing over the northern U.S. besides the...