LONDON: Asian spot liquefied natural gas prices fell for the fourth week in a row on mild weather and ample inventories, with further downward pressure expected due to the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday.
The average LNG price for February delivery into northeast Asia was $23 per million British thermal units, down $2, or 8 percent, from the previous week, industry sources estimated.
The average price for March delivery is estimated at $20.60 per mmBtu.
“Prices continue to soften with demand still relatively low. At current levels there has been some spot activity but the upcoming Asian holidays will apply downward pressure,” said Toby Copson, global head of trading and advisory at Trident LNG.
“(At) sub-$20, I see some optionality given freight is low compared to recent highs, so this makes for favorable conditions for FOB buyers looking to arbitration into Asia as it is holding a premium,” he said.
In Europe, the start of the year has seen a decline in gas and LNG prices, partly due to a continuation of unseasonably mild weather across the continent, putting less stress on gas inventory levels and sending the benchmark gas price at the Dutch TTF hub down 14 percent since the end of 2022.
“Unless we see a late winter cold snap, the market is expecting storage levels to remain healthy as we come out of winter, which should in turn limit panic around the summer restocking season,” according to Tobias Davis, head of LNG Asia at brokerage firm Tullett Prebon.
S&P Global Commodity Insights (SPGCI) assessed its daily Northwest Europe LNG Marker price benchmark, for cargoes delivered in February on ex-ship basis, at $19.241/mmBtu on Jan. 12, a discount of $2.2/mmBtu to the February gas price at the Dutch gas TTF hub, according to Ciran Roe, global director of LNG.
“March JKM and April JKM derivatives on Jan. 12 are a minus $0.60-2/mmBtu discount to the TTF months. This has eased pressure on the European LNG differentials and means Europe isn’t being outbid for LNG at the moment,” Roe said.