Japan’s October LNG imports up 10 percent, prices surge

Japan, the world’s top liquefied natural gas importer this year, reported higher LNG imports in October despite a surge in prices.

According to the provisional data released by the country’s Ministry of Finance, Japan’s LNG imports rose by 9.9 percent year-on-year in October to about 5.08 million tonnes.

This compares to 5.32 million tonnes in September, which marked a slight decrease year-on-year.

In addition, Japan’s coal imports for power generation dropped in October when compared to the last year.

Coal imports were down by 9 percent to 9.12 million tonnes, the data shows.

Prices jump

According to the preliminary data, the October LNG import bill of about $5.7 billion increased by 150.9 percent when compared to the same month last year.

State-run Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp (JOGMEC) said earlier this month that the average price of spot LNG cargoes for delivery to Japan contracted in October was $38.9 per mmBtu. It did not publish the arrival-based price.

JOGMEC did not publish data for spot LNG prices in September and August as there were less than two companies that imported spot LNG during the month.

Asian spot LNG prices dropped during November but they remain high. The JKM LNG price price for December settled at $27.397 per mmBtu on Wednesday.

Japan is helping firms, such as Jera, to buy LNG supplies due to high prices and to ensure a stable supply of electricity in Japan.

Russian LNG deliveries up

As per LNG shipments going to Japan in October, deliveries from Asia from countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia rose by 7.7 percent to 943,000 tonnes, the ministry’s data shows.

Middle East LNG shipments from countries such Qatar were down by 50 percent to 375,000 tonnes.

Moreover, shipments from Russia increased by 34.9 percent to 530,000 tonnes, while US deliveries decreased by 33.3 percent to 206,000 tonnes.

Largest LNG importer

China became the world’s largest LNG importer last year, overtaking Japan by more than four million tonnes, but the roles changed again this year and Japan continues to be the world’s top LNG importer.

With the October figure, Japan took about 60.35 million tonnes of LNG in the January-October period.

China is yet to release the official numbers for October. The country imported about 46.51 million tonnes in January-September, or about 8.7 million tonnes less than Japan.

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