China to Remain Out of Spot Market in 2023
LNG imports from China rose to their highest level in 2022 to 7.5 MMt in December. Nevertheless, imports declined by 20% in 2022 to 64.4 MMt compared to the levels seen in 2021. Covid-19 restrictions, higher domestic natural gas output and the substitution of other various means of covering energy demand led to a decline in LNG imports.
Sentiment towards LNG demand has improved since Covid-19 restrictions have been lifted and LNG prices have dropped due to present ample supplies in Europe. However, China continues to re-sell cargoes from new contracts that started in 2022 and from contracts that start in early 2023. This evidences a weaker market than indicated by the re-opening of the economy and higher imports in December 2022. Imports are forecast to see moderate growth in 2022 to 69.6 MMt and forecast to reach 75.7 MMt by 2024.
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