Global LNG-Asian spot LNG prices steady as winter buying slows


PERTH, Dec 13 (Reuters) - Asian spot LNG prices leveled off at around $19 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) this week, as stockpiling for the winter slowed and higher prices deterred some buyers.

Asian LNG prices fell back slightly after rising to $19.05 last week, sources said.

Japan, the world's largest importer of LNG, boosted LNG purchases by 8.6 percent in November, probably due to winter restocking, although its LNG consumption only rose about 1.9 percent.

The world's largest importer of LNG has been trying to use more coal to lower costs, however, and Japan's coal purchases jumped 16.7 percent in November, while consumption rose 20 percent.

In South Korea, the world's second largest LNG importer, state-run Korea Gas Corp (KOGAS) said domestic gas sales in November rose 3.3 percent on the year.

About a quarter of South Korea's nuclear power units are shut due to a safety scandal, leaving the country increasingly reliant on gas imports. Nuclear power typically provides about a third of South Korea's power generation.

In the Americas, Mexican LNG demand remains strong, while Argentinian and Brazilian LNG demand, which had pushed prices higher earlier on in the year, are tapering off, Waterborne LNG analysts said.

Spot prices into the Atlantic Basin are around $15 per mmBtu, Waterborne said.

On the supply side, Yemen's LNG export plant complex was targeted with rocket-propelled explosives last Friday, but the firm said production and shipping continued.

Norway's Hammerfest LNG plant has exported its highest monthly volumes since the start of the year, according to Waterborne, with output up 6 percent on the year.

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