Japan’s November LNG imports decline

Japan’s liquefied natural gas (LNG) imports dropped in November compared to the same month last year, according to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance.

The country’s LNG imports decreased by 3.9 percent year-on-year in November to 5.33 million tonnes, the data shows.

LNG imports dropped compared to 5.41 million tonnes in the previous month, which marked an increase compared to the previous year.

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

Coal imports were down by 2.4 percent to 8.31 million tonnes, and Japan paid about $1.55 billion for these imports, a drop of 55.6 percent compared to the last year, the data shows.

LNG import bill down

According to the preliminary data, the November LNG import bill of about $3.44 billion decreased by 34.1 percent 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 monthly spot LNG price in November as there were less than two companies that imported spot LNG.

The average price of spot LNG cargoes for delivery to Japan contracted in October 2023 and scheduled to be delivered from the month onward was $14.7/MMBtu, JOGMEC previously said.

Also, the average price of spot LNG cargoes that were delivered in Japan within the month of October regardless of the month when the contract was made (arrival-based price) was $13.8/MMBtu.

JOGMEC also said in a report this week that the “Northeast Asian assessed spot LNG price JKM for the previous week (December 11 – December 15) fell to high $11s on December 13 due to ample supply and lower demand from high $14s the previous week.”

“JKM then rose to low $12s on December 15 reflecting improving buying interest due to the daily price declines,” it said.

METI announced on December 13 that Japan’s LNG inventories for power generation as of December 10 stood at 2.54 million tons, up 0.35 million tonnes from the previous week.

LNG deliveries

As per LNG shipments going to Japan in November, deliveries from Asia decreased by 28.9 percent to 1.15 million tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.

Middle East LNG shipments increased by 59.5 percent to 767,000 tonnes in November.

Moreover, shipments from Russia rose by 46.9 percent to 655,000 tonnes, while US deliveries jumped by 132.2 percent to 445,000 tonnes in November.

The data does not include spot volumes.

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

However, China has overtaken Japan to become the world’s top importer of LNG this year.

China’s LNG imports rose for the second month in a row in November to 6.80 million tonnes. The country imported 62.99 million tonnes of LNG during January-November, up by 10.9 percent compared to the same period last year.

During the January-November period, Japan imported some 59.85 million tonnes, down by about 3.14 million tonnes compared to China’s volumes.

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