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imageTOKYO: Spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) contracted in June for delivery to Japan averaged $13.80 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) on a delivered ex-ship basis, down from $14.80 a month earlier, the trade ministry said on Monday.

Japan in April started releasing spot LNG prices for the first time to add transparency to an opaque market and amid concern about rising fuel costs in the wake of the shutdown of nuclear plants after the Fukushima crisis.

Asian spot LNG prices, however, have fallen nearly half since hitting the peak for this year just above $20/mmBtu in mid-February, due to ample supply and weak demand amid mild summer weather in the north.

Japan had been importing record volumes of LNG to run power stations following the meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi plant north of Tokyo after the March 2011 earthquake and the ensuing shutdown of all 48 reactors in the country.

Japan takes about a third of world LNG shipments, importing a record 87.73 million tonnes in the year to the end of March.

The average spot price is based on about 10 percent of the super-chilled fuel bought by Japan.

Japan's LNG price survey looks at samples of fixed prices for LNG sold to power companies and utilities among others, and excludes spot deals linked to benchmark prices such as the US natural gas Henry Hub index.

Copyright Reuters, 2014

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