Northeast Asian LNG Imports Now in Three-Month Slide

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Northeast Asian imports slid for the third consecutive month amid competition from desperate European buyers, according to Kpler data, this as Asian countries used their stocks due to high spot LNG prices.

Imports to the world's largest LNG market also slid on the back of reduced trading due to the Lunar New Year.

Meanwhile, Japan reclaimed the title of world's largest LNG importer as the more price sensitive China retreated.

Japan imported more LNG than China in January, February and March, according to Kpler data.

China overtook Japan as the world's No. 1 LNG importer in 2021.


Japan's monthly LNG imports increased by 4.7% in February to 7.1 million tons, up from 6.7 million tons in January, according to customs data.

Year-on-year imports in February, however, fell by 12%. This is likely a result of higher prices pushing the country to rely on stocks. But lower inventories should push Japan into purchasing more LNG as it gets ready for higher summer demand.

Japan’s top supplier in February was Australia with 2.5 million tons, followed by Malaysia with 1 million tons.

The average price of LNG for Japan was $15.88 per million Btu in February. The highest price was from Peru at $22.07/MMBtu, followed by the US at $21.13/MMBtu, and by Qatar at $19.77/MMBtu.


China's monthly imports fell by almost 38% in February to 4.8 million tons, down from 7.8 million tons in January, according to customs data.

Year-on-year imports in February fell by 11.7%. This should be largely attributed to Lunar New Year festivities that reduced trading, and restrictions linked to the pandemic as infection numbers in China were on the rise.

China’s top supplier in February was Qatar with 1.73 million tons, followed by Australia at 1.68 million tons. Australia is usually the top supplier to Northeast Asia.

The average price for China was $12.97/MMBtu in February, while the highest price came from Belgium at $41.49/MMBtu, followed by Equatorial Guinea at $31.48/MMBtu.

South Korea

South Korean monthly imports fell by 30% in February to 3.4 million tons, down from 5 million tons in January, according to customs data.

Year-on-year imports in February fell by almost 33%.

The top LNG supplier to South Korea in February was Australia with 941,000 tons, followed by Qatar with 830,000 tons.

The average price for South Korea was $16.22/MMBtu in February. The highest price was from Australia at $21.68/MMBtu, followed by Malaysia at $16.74/MMBtu.


Taiwan monthly imports rose by 11% on month in February to 1.6 million tons, and saw an 18% year-on-year increase from February 2021, according to customs data.

The top supplier to Taiwan was Australia with 448,000 tons, followed by 437,000 tons from Qatar.

The average price for Taiwan was $14.65/MMBtu. The highest price came from Oman at $31.24/MMBtu, followed by the United Arab Emirates at $30.42/MMBtu.

Northeast Asia LNG Imports
('000 tons)Feb'22Jan'22Feb'21Y-o-Y %Chg.
South Korea 3,4775,0045,173-32.78%
Taiwan 1,5931,4301,34218.69%

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