China’s March LNG imports rise 16.9 percent

China’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports rose for the second month in a row in March, according to customs data.

Data from the General Administration of Customs shows that the country received about 5.36 million tonnes in March, a rise of 16.9 percent when compared to the same month last year.

China imported 16.43 million tonnes of LNG during the first quarter of this year, down by 4.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

In February, China received 5.21 million tonnes of LNG, up by 8.2 percent when compared to the last year, while in January LNG imports dropped by 24.2 percent to 5.91 million tonnes.

Including pipeline gas, China’s gas imports dropped by 3.6 percent in January-March to 26.77 million tonnes.

The country’s pipeline gas imports rose by 4.4 percent in March to 3.51 million tonnes, the data shows.

Japan was the world’s top liquefied natural gas importer in 2022, overtaking China, but both of the countries took fewer volumes when compared to the year before.

China received about 63.44 million tonnes of LNG last year, down 19.5 percent year on year, as Covid-19 lockdowns and high prices curbed demand for LNG in China.

However, China has started to relax Covid-related measures in December last year and spot prices dropped considerably this year.

The JKM for June settled at $12.490/MMBtu on Monday.

PipeChina recently said that its Yuedong LNG import terminal in southern China’s Guangdong province has received a record monthly number of vessels in March since its launch in 2017.

The state-owned firm, which operates seven LNG import terminals and is building three new facilities, noted that the LNG market in 2023 is benefiting from the slowdown of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fall in spot LNG prices.

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