Japan’s LNG imports slip 3.3% on year in April; Qatar, Nigeria imports lower

Japan’s LNG imports reached 6.4 million mt in April, down 3.3% from a year ago, led by lower supply from Qatar and Nigeria, data released Friday by the Ministry of Finance showed.

On a month-on-month basis, LNG imports also dropped 21.7% from March as the country entered shoulder months.

Shipments from Australia reached 1.8 million mt in April, up 23.2% from a year ago.

It was the largest LNG supplier with its volume representing 28% of Japan’s overall imports.

Malaysia came in second, supplying 1.18 million mt in April, rising 7% from a year earlier.

Imports from Qatar plunged 30.6% year on year to 841,520 mt in April, making Qatar the third-largest LNG supplier for the month.

Shipments from Nigeria also fell 22.3% from a year earlier to 143,347 mt in April.

Japan received no reloads from Europe and the number of exporting countries to Japan shrank to 10 in April, from 14 a year ago, with Yemen LNG shut since April 2015 amid increasing security concerns around the facility.

The Japan Customs Cleared crude oil price was $36.957/b in April, down 34.1% from a year earlier but rose 15.5% from March.

Some of Japan’s long-term LNG contracts are linked to the JCC crude price but with a lag of a few months, so fluctuations in oil prices typically take time to be reflected in LNG prices.

Source: Platts