SINGAPORE: Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) jumped 17 per cent this week, riding six-year highs, as a cold spell in some countries prompted record imports into the region.
The average LNG price for February delivery into Northeast Asia LNG-AS was estimated at about $14.60 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), up $2.10 from the previous week, sources said.
Spot Asian LNG prices have led the energy complex this year, gaining more than 140pc on booming demand and outages in key suppliers. They had dropped to a record low of below $2 per mmBtu in May amid coronavirus-induced lockdowns, but have quickly rebounded in the fourth quarter this year amid an economic recovery in Asia and a cold spell.
Asia is set to import nearly 27 million tonnes of LNG in December, far surpassing the previous monthly high set in December, last year at about 23.6m tonnes, mainly led by China and Japan, shiptracking data from Refinitiv Eikon showed on Thursday.
China’s volumes in December hit over 9m tonnes, a jump of about 40pc from November, the data showed, with the country overtaking Japan as the world’s top importer of the super-chilled fuel for a second straight month.
Japan is also set to import record high monthly volumes in December at about 8.1m tonnes, the data showed.
Temperatures are expected to dip below normal in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai over the next two weeks, according to Refinitiv’s weather data, boosting demand for the fuel used for heating.
Meanwhile, spot demand from Pakistan continued to emerge with state-run procurement agency Pakistan LNG seeking two cargoes for delivery in April.
India’s Gujarat State Petroleum Corporation may have bought a cargo for delivery in February at $10 to $10.50 per mmBtu earlier this week while Petronas may have sold a cargo loading from Australia’s Gladstone LNG to Japan’s JERA at $13 to $13.50 per mmBtu, an industry source said.
Published in Dawn, January 1st, 2021