• India’s robust LNG imports are Asia’s standout, but higher prices may weigh: Russell

    Asia’s imports of liquefied natural gas(LNG) are displaying contrasting dynamics in May, with strength in usually price-sensitive buyers like India, but a softer trend in the developed economies such as Japan and South Korea.

    The top-importing continent is on track to receive about 23.61 million metric tons of the super-chilled fuel this month, according to data compiled by commodity analysts Kpler. This is up slightly from April’s 23.23 million tons, although on a daily basis May’s arrivals are a touch weaker, while they are stronger than the 20.75 million from May 2023.

    But while the overall LNG import figures are relatively stable for Asia this month, the breakdown is somewhat at odds with recent movements in the spot price. India’s May imports are estimated at 2.46 million tons, up from 2.03 million in April and the strongest month since October 2020.

    The surge in arrivals comes even as the spot price for delivery to North Asia has been rallying, rising from a near three-year low of $8.30 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) in the week to Feb. 23 to a five-month high of $12.30 last week.

    What is worth noting is that the cargoes arriving in India in May would have been secured in a window from later February to early April, a time when spot prices were rising but were still below the $10 per mmBtu level.

    Now that the spot price has risen decisively above that level, it raises the possibility that Indian utilities will scale back purchases as LNG will no longer be competitive in the domestic market.

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