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Markets

Asian spot LNG prices jump on supply issues, shipping rates

  • Supply issues in Australia and Qatar are also boosting spot prices, though these are expected to be temporary, traders said.
Published December 9, 2020

SINGAPORE: Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices jumped on Tuesday, with a cargo trading 11 percent higher than another deal on Friday, as supply of the super-chilled fuel has been disrupted in some parts and as shipping rates have gone up, traders said.

Gunvor Singapore on Tuesday sold a cargo for Jan. 25 to 29 delivery into North Asia to BP Singapore at $8.90 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), according to data from S&P Global Platts. The trade took place during Platts' trading period known as market-on-close (MOC). This is a jump of 90 cents per mmBtu, or about 11%, from a similar trade that occurred on Friday.

There were also two other bids by Vitol Singapore, one of them for a mid-January delivered cargo at a price of $8.95 per mmBtu, which were remaining at the end of the trading period.

"Demand is quite strong and along with some supply issues and no shipping availability are all factors pushing prices higher," a Singapore-based trader said, adding that demand from China, in particular has been strong.

China imported nearly 6.4 million tonnes of LNG in November, highest monthly volumes since December, 2019, Refinitiv Eikon data showed, with this month's volumes expected to surpass November's, according to the trader.

Supply issues in Australia and Qatar are also boosting spot prices, though these are expected to be temporary, traders said.

For instance, Chevron Corp temporarily shut a unit that separates natural gas and associated liquids at its Wheatstone offshore processing platform after finding an issue during routine maintenance.

With spot prices in Asia rising, traders are diverting cargoes from Europe to the region, while congestion in the Panama Canal also caused shipping rates to rise, the traders said.

"The expensive shipping is making it difficult to bring cargoes from the Atlantic," a Singapore-based trader said.

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