Japan imports plunge in April

Tuesday, 23 May 2023
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Japanese liquefied natural gas imports dropped almost 19 percent in April even as cargo numbers remained stable from Australia but declined from other regions as milder weather and higher energy storage curbed demand for LNG cargoes as well as thermal coal.

Japan’s LNG imports for April fell by 18.7 percent to 4.53 million tonnes, or about 67 cargoes, down from 5.57MT, or 82 cargoes, received in April 2022, according to preliminary trade figures from the Japanese Finance Ministry.

Deliveries to Japan in March had amounted to 5.70MT, down from 6.50MT received in March 2022.

The April cost of LNG deliveries fell year-on-year by 24.8 percent to 421.99 billion yen ($3.08Bln) compared with 561.08Bln yen ($4.09Bln) in April 2022.

Japan’s had regained the global No. 1 spot as an LNG importer in 2022 with its 72MT of volumes, though imports have slowed in 2023 as have those to import rival China.

The Japanese Ministry’s data showed the decline in gas-fired power needs in April coincided with a fall as well in thermal coal imports for electricity generation.

Thermal coal imports declined by 10.8 percent to 7.28MT as overall energy imports fell, signalling ample storage and stalled demand.

The Ministry LNG data showed that LNG cargo deliveries from Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei fell by 21.7 percent in April to 1.17MT.

Middle East cargo imports dropped by 47.9 percent year-on-year to 200,000 tonnes and to just one third of the previous month’s receipts.

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