Japan’s March LNG imports down 8.7 percent

Japan’s LNG imports reached 6.50 million tonnes in March, down 8.7 percent when compared to the same month in the year before, according to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

Compared to the previous month when Japan took 7.10 million tonnes, LNG imports declined about 8.5 percent.

On the other side, Japan’s coal imports for power generation rose year-on-year in March. Coal imports increased 25.6 percent to 10.69 million tonnes, the data shows.

Prices surge

Japan paid about $4.40 billion for LNG supplies in March, a rise of 89.2 percent when compared to the last 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 March had reached $29.8 per mmBtu. The arrival-based price was $27.6 per mmBtu.

Looking at LNG shipments in March, deliveries from Asia from countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia declined by 4.6 percent to 1.60 million tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.

Middle East LNG shipments from countries like Qatar were down by 30.2 percent to 869,000 tonnes.

Additionally, shipments from Russia rose by 10.9 percent to 710,000 tonnes while US deliveries dropped by 76.7 percent to 190,000 tonnes.

During the first three months of this year, Japan again became the world’s largest importer and took about 20.39 million tonnes of LNG, while China received about 17.28 million tonnes in the January-March period.

LNG inventories at 1.65 million tonnes

Japan’s LNG inventories, held by the country’s major power utilities, stood at 1.65 million tonnes as of April 3, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

This marked a drop of 0.6 percent when compared to the week before and the third consecutive week-on-week decline, Platts reported earlier this month citing METI data.

To remind, METI said in October that LNG stocks hit around 2.3 million tonnes as of October 15, a rise of 0.7 million tonnes from a year earlier.

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