China continued to surprise the market in the first quarter 2018, with a dramatic 65% year-on-year increase in imports as the country switched heating systems from coal to gas to improve air quality. The rate of increase accelerated from the previous quarter, but this is unlikely to be maintained during summer. The country has relatively low storage capacity so will have to rely more on importing at time-of-need rather than building up stocks in summer for the winter ahead.
Global supplies were boosted as new projects built up their production, including from Australia’s Wheatstone plant and Russia’s Arctic Yamal LNG facility, which also became a focus of market interest as its early cargoes were delivered into the spot market, some for consumption in Europe and some much further abroad. Australia will remain under scrutiny across the summer as traders watch for progress of the country’s two floating LNG projects due to start up soon, at Ichthys and Prelude.
The LNG Edge: Q1 2018 Trade Flow Report draws on the latest voyage data from market-intelligence platform LNG Edge to analyse imports and exports in the global LNG market, bringing you market insights ahead of full data publication from customs authorities. The report includes a review of spot price movements during January to March and a look ahead to important factors for the market this summer.