China’s January-April LNG imports drop 17.3 percent

China’s LNG imports dropped by 17.3 percent in the January-April period, mostly due to high spot prices and Covid lockdowns, which affected economic activity.

The country received about 21.59 million tonnes in the January-April period, according to data from the General Administration of Customs.

In April, China took some 4.35 million tonnes, down 34.5 percent when compared to the same month last year.

The customs data previously showed that January LNG imports dropped by 6.7 percent to 7.81 million tonnes, in February they decreased by 11.8 percent to 4.86 million tonnes, and in March imports dropped 17 percent to 4.63 million tonnes.

On the other side, China’s pipeline gas imports increased during the January-April period of this year.

Pipeline imports rose by 7.7 percent to 14.28 million tonnes, while in April these imports increased by 9.3 percent to 3.74 million tonnes, the data said.

China became the world’s largest LNG importer last year, overtaking Japan.

However, during the first three months of this year, Japan took about 20.39 million tonnes of LNG, while China received about 17.28 million tonnes in the January-March period.

Japan has still not released official data for April.

China’s demand may pick up later this year as the government looks to end Covid lockdowns, including in Shanghai.

Asian spot LNG prices have also dropped since March this year when they reached record levels, but they are still high. The Platts JKM LNG price for July closed at $20.075 on Tuesday.

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