Atlantic LNG shipping rates up, European prices climb for second week

Atlantic spot LNG freight rates rose this week, while European prices increased for the second week in a row.

Last week, spot charter rates for the global LNG carrier fell to their lowest since June 2023.

Image: Spark

“Freight rates have continued to trade in a tight range, with the Spark30S Atlantic spot rate increasing by $2,500 to $50,250 per day, and the Spark25S Pacific rate falling by $2,000 to $51,500 per day,” Qasim Afghan, Spark’s commercial analyst, told LNG Prime on Friday.

Image: Spark

“Spark30S Atlantic freight rates have traded within a $4,750 per day range since late January, and the Spark25S Pacific rates have traded within a $8,000 per day range, marking a relatively stable start to 2024,” he said.

LNG freight rates have not been impacted despite the fact that LNG carriers are still avoiding the Suez Canal due to the situation in the Red Sea.

In addition, due to a drought situation impacting the Panama Canal, LNG transits through the waterway keep declining as well and vessels are choosing other routes to deliver their cargoes.

European prices climb

In Europe, the SparkNWE DES LNG front month rose compared to the last week.

The NWE DES LNG for March delivery was assessed last week at $7.401/MMBtu.

“The SparkNWE DES LNG price is reported at $7.861/MMBtu, corresponding to a $0.46/MMBtu week-on-week increase,” Afghan said.

“This is the second consecutive weekly increase in SparkNWE DES LNG price,” he said.

Image: Spark

Levels of gas in storages in Europe remain high due to a mild winter.

Data by Gas Infrastructure Europe (GIE) shows that gas storages in the EU were 61.30 percent full on March 7. Gas storages were 62.78 percent full on February 28, and 58.56 percent full on March 6 last year.

This week, JKM, the price for LNG cargoes delivered to Northeast Asia, rose slightly when compared to the last week, according to Platts data.

JKM for April settled at $8.400/MMBtu on Thursday.

State-run Japan Organization for Metals and Energy Security (JOGMEC) said in a report earlier this week that the JKM increased due to high demand in April.

METI said that Japan’s LNG inventories for power generation as of March 3 stood at 1.95 million tonnes, down from 2.16 million tonnes in the previous week.

Several reports recently said that Chinese buyers were buying spot LNG cargoes due to low prices and to rebuild inventory after the Lunar New Year holiday.

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