China’s LNG imports jump in March

China, the world’s largest liquefied natural gas importer, increased its LNG imports by 25.1 percent in March compared to the same month last year, according to customs data.

Data from the General Administration of Customs shows that the country received 6.65 million tonnes during the last month.

During January-March, China imported 19.78 million tonnes of LNG, a rise of 20.8 percent year-on-year.

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 by 15.2 percent to 5.95 million tonnes, customs data previously showed.

Natural gas imports, including pipeline gas, during the last month reached about 10.75 million tonnes, rising 21.3 percent compared to some 8.86 million tonnes in March 2023.

China’s pipeline imports rose 17.3 percent year-on-year in March to some 4.11 million tonnes.

Several reports previously said that Chinese buyers were buying spot LNG cargoes in February and March due to low JKM prices and also to rebuild inventory after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Asian spot LNG prices increased this week and JKM for June settled at $10.745/MMBtu on Wednesday.

World’s largest LNG importer

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.

In 2024, Japan’s LNG imports dropped for the third month in a row in March.

Japan imported about 17.7 million tonnes during January-March, down by some 2.08 million tonnes compared to China’s volumes.

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