*Global LNG trade surged to record levels in 2018. The top five global importers alone, all in Asia, collectively took 220.4mn tons, up 13% on 2017’s previous record. Global number two China alone took a whopping 41% more on the back of 46% 2017 gains, pulling further ahead of number three South Korea in the process despite the latter taking 18% more. Number four India hiked buying by 20% to 22.4mn tons (see chart 1).
*Though final import data for Europe, the other key region of global demand, is not yet in, overall 2018 trade is sure to have smashed the 2017 figure of 290mn tons, which in turn was a record and up 10% on 2016 (MEES, 2 March 2018). Reuters estimates based on shipping data peg overall 2018 global trade at 321mn tons, up 11% on 2017. The same data indicate that December saw record monthly volumes of 31.9mn tons. (CONTINUED - 698 WORDS)