Hotter weather trends over the weekend and an increase in liquefied natural gas (LNG) feed gas demand lifted natural gas futures prices in early trading Monday. The July Nymex contract was up 3.1 cents to $1.700/MMBtu at around 8:35 a.m. ET.

For the evening cycle for Monday’s gas day, Genscape Inc. estimates showed a 550 MMcf/d day/day jump in LNG feed gas demand.

“Most notably, feed gas demand from Sabine Pass facilities has increased by 493 MMcf/d since Sunday,” the firm said. “Currently, most of this gas is being sourced from increased deliveries from Transco (up 298 MMcf/d day/day) and Kinder Morgan Louisiana Pipeline (up 121 MMcf/d day/day).

“Since June 15, feed gas demand from interstate pipelines has averaged 3.61 Bcf/d — nearly 600 MMcf/d less than today’s current value of 4.21 Bcf/d.”

Meanwhile, forecasts extended hotter trends over the weekend, putting projected gas-weighted degree day totals “well above normal” for the next two weeks, according to Bespoke Weather Services. Hotter temperatures are weighted toward the end of June into early July, the forecaster said.

“The focus of above normal temperatures remains in the northern half of the nation, however, with key areas in Texas and the remainder of the South closer to normal,” Bespoke said. “This somewhat limits the bullishness of the pattern, though with no notable cooler areas in the U.S., it is still a rather impressive national setup, consistent with what we have expected to see given the shift to more of a La Nina base state.”

Both the American and European models are in agreement in terms of the “general pattern type, which adds confidence in the outlook,” the forecaster said.

Looking at the technicals, the July contract would need to break through resistance at $1.743-1.747 to keep open “the possibility of a recovery” to close out the month, according to ICAP Technical Analysis analyst Brian LaRose.

“As long as the bears can prevent that from happening I am inclined to treat any sideways to higher price action as a temporary rest stop in an ongoing down trend,” LaRose said. “Still see the $1.521/1.519 lows as the next challenge for the bears if they can maintain the upper hand.”

July crude oil futures were down 40 cents to $39.35/bbl at around 8:35 a.m. ET, while July RBOB gasoline was off fractionally to $1.2617/gal.