On their last trading day as the front-month, gas futures for December delivery advanced 9.3 cents or 1.8% at $5.161 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) as of 10:18 a.m. EST (1518 GMT), and were up over 4% to their highest since Nov. 16 earlier.
The more active January contract, which will soon be the front-month, was up about 0.8% to around $5.15 per mmBtu.
“With colder weather coming up, traders are out there saying ‘Okay, we can buy,'” Robert DiDona of Energy Ventures Analysis said.
“The market has largely been bouncing back and forth in a small range, and then we finally got some short covering on a thin day.”
Data provider Refinitiv projected average U.S. gas demand, including exports, would rise from 112.0 bcfd this week to 112.8 bcfd next week as the weather turns seasonally colder and homes and businesses crank up their heaters.
For the week, prices were up about 5% so far.
“This market has been able to shrug off today’s broad-based cut in risk appetite since it is primarily a weather market,” advisory firm Ritterbusch and Associates said in a note.
In recent months, global gas prices hit record highs as utilities around the world scrambled for Liquefied Natural Gas(LNG) cargoes to replenish extremely low stockpiles in Europe and meet insatiable demand in Asia, where energy shortfalls have caused power blackouts in China.
Following those global gas prices, U.S. futures jumped to a 12-year high in early October, but have since pulled back because the United States has plenty of gas in storage and ample production for the winter. Overseas prices continue to trade about six times higher than U.S. futures.
With gas prices around $30 per mmBtu in Europe and $36 in Asia, compared with about $5 in the United States, traders said buyers around the world will keep purchasing all the LNG the United States can produce.