Natural gas traded near the highest level in a month in New York on speculation that forecasts for a blast of wintry weather in the U.S. may boost demand for the heating fuel.

Futures for January delivery climbed as much as 0.3 percent to $3.875 per million British thermal units in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange before trading at $3.847 at 9:09 a.m. London time. The December contract expired yesterday after gaining 0.8 percent to $3.818. The volume of all futures traded was about 48 percent below the 100-day average.

Forecasters including MDA Weather Services in Gaithersburg, Maryland, predict below-normal temperatures in the eastern U.S., with seasonal or higher readings during the first five days of December giving way to another shot of cold weather. A government report this week may show a smaller gas inventory drop than the prior period, analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg show.

The low temperature in Chicago on Dec. 7 may be 15 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 9 Celsius), 10 degrees below normal, according to AccuWeather Inc. in State College, Pennsylvania.

About 49 percent of U.S. households use natural gas for heating and 39 percent rely on electricity, according to the Energy Information Administration, the Energy Department’s statistical arm. The heating season runs November through March.

- Chou Hui Hong in Singapore at Bloomberg.