With forecast heat over the southern Lower 48 hinting at more robust summer cooling demand to come, and with production still down, natural gas futures advanced in early trading Wednesday.

NGI Morning Natural Gas Price & Markets Coverage

The June Nymex contract was up 4.4 cents to $2.388/MMBtu at around 8:35 a.m. ET. July was up 4.4 cents to $2.603.

Production readings from Wood Mackenzie were again showing a sharp day/day decline in updated estimates for Wednesday. 

Overall domestic output was down to around 95.7 Bcf/d in the latest sample, a 1.9 Bcf/d day/day drop, including an upward revision to the prior day’s estimate, Wood Mackenzie analyst Laura Munder told clients.

Munder pointed to an 825 MMcf/d drop in volumes flowing out of the Permian Basin portion of New Mexico, including declines on the El Paso Natural...