Northeast Asia LNG Imports Still On the Rise

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Northeast Asian LNG imports rose again year on year for the seventh consecutive time in June 2021, customs data indicate (LNGI Jul.7'21). Four of the world’s top five LNG importers -- Japan, China, Taiwan and South Korea -- are located in Northeast Asia. The top supplier to Northeast Asia is relatively close Australia. Regional imports in June were 17.2 million tons, a slight 0.5% increase from May volumes of 17.1 million tons, but a 13% year-on-year increase. The increase is attributed to post-pandemic recovery giving a boost to LNG imports. China China has overtaken Japan as the region’s top importer of LNG with higher year-to-date imports of 39.7 million tons in the first six months of the year (LNGI Jul.7'21). China’s LNG imports in June fell slightly, by 3% to 6.7 million tons versus May, according to customs data. China’s top LNG supplier remains Australia, with volumes of 2.4 million tons in June, a decrease from 2.9 million tons in May. The US was also a large supplier of LNG to China in June, with volumes reaching 1.04 million tons, up from 725,000 tons in May. China's average import price in June was $8.63 per million Btu, compared to $7.35/MMBtu in May. The highest price in June was from Nigeria, averaging $11.25/MMBtu. Japan LNG imports to Japan rose by 8% year on year in June, to 5.7 million tons, a 15% increase from 4.9 million tons in May. LNG imports had dropped in previous months as a result of restrictions imposed by the Japanese government to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. Japan received most of its LNG supplies in June from Australia, with volumes down to 1.7 million tons from 2 million tons in May. Intake from Qatar rose in June to 722,000 tons from 515,000 tons in May. The average price for Japan was $8.98/MMBtu in June, from $8.33/MMBtu in May. The highest price was also from Nigeria, with an average $9.49/MMBtu in June, followed by Papua New Guinea, where the average price was $9.47/MMBtu. Demand was given a boost in July as a result of the Olympic Games, and is expected to increase with high summer temperatures. South Korea South Korea's LNG imports dropped to 3.1 million tons in June, a 7% decrease from May, when volumes were 3.4 million tons. Year-on-year volumes, however, increased by 21% as a result of post-lockdown recovery. South Korea’s main supplier of LNG in June was the US with volumes at 875,000 tons, followed by Qatar, which sold 620,000 tons. Australia supplied South Korea with 577,000 tons in June. The average price in June rose to $8.84/MMBtu, from $7.81/MMBtu in May, in line with the unprecedented price increase in the first half of this year. Taiwan Taiwan's LNG imports dropped to 1.6 million tons in June, a 9% decrease from May. Year-on-year volumes saw a slight 1.7% increase in June. Taiwan’s main suppliers of LNG in June were Qatar and Australia, with volumes of 439,000 tons and 402,000 tons respectively. The average LNG price in Taiwan was $8.07/MMBtu in June, up from $7.33/MMBtu in May. Taiwan’s LNG demand is set to rise in the longer term as the island has set a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, in which LNG is expected to play a key role in replacing coal, Taiwan’s main source of power (LNGI Apr.23'21). Yousra Samaha, Beirut Northeast Asian LNG Imports ('000 tons ) Jun'21 May'21 Jun'20 Y-o-Y

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