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CHINA DATA: May natural gas imports rise 2% on month amid strong domestic demand

China imported 10.32 million mt, or 14.24 Bcm, of natural gas, including both piped gas and seaborne LNG in May, according to preliminary data released by the General Administration of Customs June 7.

The country’s import volumes in May rose 1.7% on the month and 31.6% year on year, S&P Global Platts calculations showed.
The month-on-month growth in May was slower than the sequential growth of 16.3% seen in April, likely due to increased LNG spot prices, market sources said.

JKM, the benchmark price for spot LNG in Northeast Asia, averaged $7.02/MMBtu over March 16-April 15, for May-delivery cargoes on a DES basis, an increase of 15.5% from a month prior, Platts data showed.

State-owned Sinopec was heard to have suspended purchases of spot LNG and resold part of their spot cargoes that were bought earlier to the market due to the surge in Asia LNG prices in May.

The year-on-year jump in May natural gas imports was driven mainly by a combination of strong domestic demand in 2021, as well as the lower base of May 2020 when China’s economic activity and gas demand had not fully recovered from the impact of COVID-19, market sources said.

Over January-May, China’s natural gas imports totaled 49.78 million mt, or 68.65 Bcm, a rise of 24.5% from around 40 million mt over the same period in 2020, preliminary customs data showed.

Separate volumes for LNG and piped gas will be released by customs later in June.
Source: Platts

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