China boosts gas imports in March

China’s natural gas imports, including pipeline gas and LNG, rose in March compared to the same month last year, according to customs data.

Natural gas imports during the last month reached about 10.75 million tonnes, rising 21.3 percent compared to some 8.86 million tonnes in March 2023, the data from the General Administration of Customs shows.

China paid about $5.2 billion for gas imports last month.

During January-March, China’s gas imports reached 32.79 million tonnes, a rise of 22.8 percent year-on-year.

The world’s largest LNG importer paid about $16.5 billion for gas imports in January-March, down 1.9 percent compared to the same period in 2023.

There is currently no official data for LNG imports in March.

China’s LNG imports increased by 19.3 percent to 13.20 million tonnes in January-February.

In January, China’s LNG import terminals took 7.25 million tonnes of LNG, up by 22.9 percent year-on-year, while in February LNG imports rose 15.2 percent to 5.95 million tonnes.

Chinese buyers were buying spot LNG cargoes due to low JKM prices and also to rebuild inventory after the Lunar New Year holiday.

China’s LNG imports rose 12.6 percent in 2023, and the country overtook Japan as the world’s largest LNG importer.

The country received about 71.32 million tonnes in the January-December period.

This is a rise compared to about 63.44 million tonnes of LNG in 2022 when imports dropped due to very high spot LNG prices and Covid lockdowns.

China’s 2023 LNG imports dropped compared to record 78.93 million tonnes in 2021.

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