February natural gas prices were higher during the early morning hours, supported by colder US temperatures and a further reduction in the Baker Hughes rig count. It is possible that natural gas prices responded favorably to the latest report from the National Weather Service that forecasted US heat-related demand for natural gas to increase by nearly 3.0% above normal levels. Some traders mentioned that those results also seemed to correspond with the latest US weather outlook for the January 23rd - 27th time frame that showed below average temperatures blanketing the entire eastern half of the US. The Commitments of Traders Futures and Options report as of January 11th showed non-commercial traders were net short 161,575 contracts, an increase of 19,791. Non-commercial and nonreportable traders combined held a net short position of 115,758 contracts, an increase of 20,150 in their net short positioning.