Japan’s LNG imports down 22 percent in October

Japan’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports dropped in October for the second straight month after logging a rise in the May-August period.

The country received 4.62 million tonnes of LNG last month, down 22.1 percent when compared to the same month last year, according to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

Compared to the previous month when Japan took 5.41 million tonnes, LNG imports decreased by 14.6 percent.

On the other side, Japan’s coal imports for power generation rose 9.9 percent to 10.1 million tonnes in October.

Prices surge

Japan paid about $2.76 billion for LNG supplies in October, a rise of 67.6 percent year-on-year.

State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) said earlier this month the average contract-based price for spot LNG cargoes shipped to Japan in October had reached $26.50/mmBtu.

Looking at LNG shipments in October, deliveries from Asia from countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia decreased by 21.4 percent to 876,000 tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.

Middle East LNG shipments from countries like Qatar dropped by 36.9 percent to 750,000 tonnes.

Additionally, shipments from Russia decreased by 25.7 percent to 393,000 tonnes while US deliveries rose 55.7 percent to 309,000 tonnes.

LNG inventories at highest level

Japan’s LNG inventories, held by the country’s major power utilities, reached the highest level in five years on October 15, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said last month.

The ministry said then LNG stocks hit around 2.3 million tonnes as of October 15, a rise of 0.7 million tonnes from a year earlier.

Japan remained the world’s largest LNG importer last year and the country took 74.4 million tonnes of LNG. However, China will probably overtake Japan this year.

China imported 58.48 million tonnes in the January-September period, while Japan received about 56.75 million tonnes. China is yet to release official data for October.

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