A somewhat hotter-trending forecast overnight lent some support to natural gas futures as prices hovered close to even early Wednesday. The July Nymex contract was unchanged at $1.614/MMBtu at around 8:45 a.m. ET.

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The latest guidance heading into Wednesday’s trading came in slightly hotter, with the major models weakening a cooler pattern expected to arrive next week, according to Bespoke Weather Services.

Models also showed “a pattern into early July that would be more favorable for heat, though again focused mostly on the northern U.S. as opposed to the key areas of the South,” Bespoke said.

While no individual region is on track to experience “extreme” heat, national gas-weighted degree days are projected to average above normal for the 15-day outlook, the forecaster said.

“Natural gas prices are close to unchanged so far this morning, although this is how the previous two days began as well before a very weak cash market sparked strong selling,” Bespoke said. “That is a risk again later this morning.”

The July contract has now dropped nearly 20 cents over the past three sessions, noted analysts at EBW Analytics Group.

“Even more clearly than on Monday, yesterday’s loss was directly attributable to collapsing cash market demand in East Texas and Louisiana hubs,” the EBW analysts said. “Support below $1.60 is likely to be tested again today. By pushing prices down to a multi-decade low, however, just a few days before hotter weather is expected to arrive, the market could be setting the stage for an extended rally.”

A rally would depend on “the intensity of late June and July heat” as well as whether liquefied natural gas (LNG) export demand can “stabilize at or near current levels,” the analysts said. “If feed gas flows continue to drop, even lower prices are possible.”

Meanwhile, looking ahead to Thursday’s Energy Information Administration storage report, Energy Aspects issued a preliminary estimate for an 83 Bcf injection for the week ending June 12. Even as LNG feed gas demand has been lackluster, the firm said it’s projecting a lighter injection based on a 2 Bcf/d week/week rise in power burns.

“That rise, with a continued slow recovery in industrial baseload, will offset an anemic average feed gas rate of 3.9 Bcf/d,” Energy Aspects said.

July crude oil futures were off 36 cents to $38.02/bbl at around 8:45 a.m. ET, while July RBOB gasoline was down fractionally to $1.1977/gal.