LNG: Jan 6-10: NE Asia market softens with expected fall in market
--DES Northeast Asia
The DES Northeast Asia market Demand remained at a low ebb since the end of last year, boosting expectations for downward price movements. In Japan and South Korea, temperatures remained higher than normal years even after the beginning of January. Gas demand for both power generation and heating failed to pick up. A similar phenomenon was witnessed in North China, leaving little room to seek LNG cargoes on a spot basis. Brent and other benchmark crude prices jumped amid intensifying tensions in the Middle East driven by US attacks on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, but the LNG market was still gripped by a bearish tone amid unabated oversupply sentiment. Some end-users eyed cutting their intake of term cargoes by exercising the DQT clause and increasing spot purchases, concluding a rise in crude oil prices made their term contract prices overvalued. But the end-users had no other choice than to skip spot purchases amid slack gas demand.
--FOB Middle East, DES South Asia and the Middle East
The FOB Middle East, DES South Asia and Middle East markets declined last week. Indian end-users were buying intermittently but supply was ample and market sentiment was weak. Talks were mainly on February delivery but Indian state-owned gas company GAIL bought via a tender closed on Jan 6 a cargo for delivery Jan 10 at about $6. As there were extremely few sellers, the price was considerably above the market level for February delivery onwards.
--FOB Atlantic, DES Europe and South America
The FOB Atlantic, DES Europe and South America markets slipped last week. European pipeline gas prices were extremely low for this period because supply/demand at the moment was extremely slack. In London this week, temperatures were considerably above seasonal norms and supply of pipeline gas and LNG was ample. Since the beginning of the year, Russian gas supply had dropped sharply. But supply of pipeline gas from other areas such as Norway was plentiful. Further, LNG intake from the US and the Yamal project in Russia was also high. Therefore, European gas markets such as NBP were not supported.