As forecasts teased the prospect of an exceptionally mild February pattern turning cooler into the back half of the month, natural gas futures advanced in early trading Wednesday.

NGI Morning Natural Gas Price & Markets Coverage

The March Nymex contract was up 5.8 cents to $2.135/MMBtu at around 8:51 a.m. ET. April was up 5.3 cents to $2.157.

As the March contract attempts to recover some of its losses from earlier in the week, a lack of weather-driven demand amid “extreme warmth” from forecasts “remains a challenge,” according to EBW Analytics Group analyst Eli Rubin.

“At the same time, the rapid plunge in natural gas prices over the past few weeks is evolving into a slow grind lower,” Rubin said. “Meteorologists express confidence in a shift toward a colder back half of February lingering just beyond” the...