The January natural gas futures contract stumbled out of the gate on its first day as the front-month Wednesday, tripped up by stubbornly warm forecasts for early December and bears sticking to their oversupply views a day before the government’s weekly storage report.

At A Glance:

  • January Nymex falls 3.3 cents
  • Spot prices fall ahead of warmer stretch
  • El Niño reading flashes stronger

The January Nymex natural gas futures contract settled at $2.804/MMBtu, down 3.3 cents day/day. February fell 2.9 cents to $2.769.

NGI’s Spot Gas National Avg. dropped 57.5 cents to $3.170, pulled lower by declines in eastern regions where the frigid cold was expected to ease into the weekend. Price drops were broadly spread across regions, with some exceptions like West Texas. Permian...