The world’s top four LNG importers, all in Asia, dramatically cut back on volumes in Q1 amid record prices as an already tight market tightened further after Russia invaded Ukraine in February. This sent key European gas importers scrambling to secure alternate supplies, pulling volumes away from Asia. European LNG imports have been running at record highs in early 2022.
The top four importers – China, Japan, South Korea and India – collectively imported 56.1mn tons of the supercooled fuel for Q1, down 10.7% year on year. Of key Asian importers, only number five Taiwan saw a year-on-year rise (see chart 1), whilst recent record prices meant the top five saw their collective import bill soar to a record of over $51bn. Both Korea and Taiwan notched up record import bills for Q1 (MEES, 15 April), whilst China’s Q1 import bill of $13.90bn was down 22% on the previous quarter’s record $17.84bn, but still the second highest ever (see chart 2). (CONTINUED - 1313 WORDS)