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Markets

Asian spot LNG falls from record highs on warmer outlook

  • Exceptionally low temperatures had caused power prices to surge in Japan where LNG inventories fell to critical levels in some areas.
19 Jan 2021

SINGAPORE: Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices fell from record highs as traders anticipated warming temperatures in the region and as supply was expected to return from some areas.

The Japan-Korea-Marker (JKM), which is assessed by pricing agency S&P Global Platts and used as a reference for spot markets in Asia, on Friday fell to $26.99 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) for a cargo for February delivery, Platts data showed.

That was down nearly 17% from a record high of $32.50 per mmBtu touched last Wednesday.

The average price for the whole month of February was $18.309 per mmBtu, Platts data showed.

On Monday, prices for cargoes to be delivered in March fell to $9.626 per mmBtu, down 20 cents from Friday, the data showed. The front-month contract rolled over on Monday.

"Prices are starting to calm down now as it's expected to get warmer over the next few weeks," a Singapore-based LNG trader said.

Temperatures in Tokyo, Seoul, Beijing and Shanghai are expected to rise above average over the next two weeks, weather data from Refinitiv Eikon showed.

Exceptionally low temperatures had caused power prices to surge in Japan where LNG inventories fell to critical levels in some areas.

While industrial activity in China, the world's second largest LNG importer, had bounced back faster than others, it has reported a rise in coronavirus outbreaks in recent weeks, prompting lockdowns, which in turn have disrupted logistics and industrial activity, prompting concern among traders.

Platts is forecasting that spot prices will fall to $6.10 per mmBtu, which is about 35 cents below the current forward curve, a spokeswoman told Reuters.