UPDATE 3-U.S. natgas futures rise on colder weather forecasts

Wed Nov 20, 2013 3:12pm EST
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* Weather seen colder later this week, next week

* Comfortable storage, record production limit upside

* Coming up: EIA natgas storage data due Thursday

By Joe Silha

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) - U.S. natural gas futures ended sharply higher on Wednesday as investors reacted to a colder shift in weather forecasts for later this week and next week that should force more homeowners and businesses to turn up the heat.

Forecaster MDA Weather Services said both the six- to 10-day and 11- to 15-day outlooks turned colder overnight, with some much below-normal temperatures expected to stretch from Texas to the Northeast next week.

"The forecasts are calling for below normal temperatures, but I think the market is waiting for real winter weather to show up before it goes much higher," said Tom Saal, senior vice president at INTL FCStone in Miami.

Front-month gas futures on the New York Mercantile Exchange ended up 11.8 cents, or 3.3 percent, at $3.674 per million British thermal units after trading between $3.549 and $3.681.

The front contract, which hit a 3-1/2 week high of $3.705 on Monday but had lost 2.8 percent in the previous two sessions, is now up 0.4 percent so far this week. It gained 4.2 percent over the previous two weeks.   Continued...