Japan’s LNG imports down 18.7 percent in April

Japan, the world’s top liquefied natural gas importer, reported lower LNG imports in April when compared to the same month last year.

According to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance, Japan’s LNG imports dropped by 18.7 percent year-on-year in April to about 4.53 million tonnes.

LNG imports also dropped when compared to 5.72 million tonnes in the previous month, which also marked a drop when compared to the previous year.

Japan’s coal imports for power generation also decreased in April when compared to the last year.

Coal imports were down by 10.8 percent to 7.28 million tonnes, and Japan paid about $2.06 billion for these imports, a rise of 10.4 percent when compared to the last year, the data shows.

LNG import bill down

According to the preliminary data, the April LNG import bill of about $3.06 billion decreased by 24.8 percent when compared to the same month last year.

State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) did not publish both the contract-based and the arrival-based spot LNG price in January, February, March, and April as there were less than two companies that imported spot LNG.

The average price of spot LNG cargoes for delivery to Japan contracted in December was $30.8 per mmBtu.

However, spot LNG prices dropped considerably this year.

JOGMEC said in a report earlier this week that the “Northeast Asian assessed spot LNG price JKM for the previous week (8 May – 12 May) rose for three consecutive days from the high $9s of the previous week to low $10s” due to the demand from Thailand and Taiwan.

JKM then hovered around $10 per MMBtu until May 12 amid mild weather and high inventories, it said.

According to METI, Japan’s LNG inventories for power generation totaled 2.25 million tonnes as of May 7, down 0.19 million tonnes from the previous week, up 0.14 million tonnes from the end of the same month of last year, and up 0.24 million tonnes from the average of the past five years.

LNG deliveries

As per LNG shipments going to Japan in April, deliveries from Asia from countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia decreased by 21.7 percent to 1.17 million tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.

Middle East LNG shipments from countries such Qatar dropped by 47.9 percent to 200,000 tonnes.

Moreover, shipments from Russia decreased by 10.6 percent to 354,000 tonnes, while US deliveries dropped by 8.5 percent to 315,000 tonnes.

World’s largest LNG importer

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

During January-April, Japan imported some 23.47 million tonnes of LNG.

China has not yet published official data for LNG imports in April.

The country imported 16.43 million tonnes of LNG during the first quarter of this year, some 2.51 million tonnes of LNG less than Japan during the first three months of this year.

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