Japan, which suffered damage to its nuclear and coal-fired power plants in the March 11 earthquake, boosted Atlantic spot purchases of liquefied natural gas to a 33-month high in June to replace lost electricity generation.
The world’s biggest buyer of the fuel purchased at least nine spot cargoes from Yemen, Peru, Algeria, Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea in June compared with seven in May, according to data from the Finance Ministry on its website. The number of cargoes is the highest since September 2008, when Japan bought at least 11 cargoes, the data showed.
LNG prices are headed for a three-year high as Asian purchases surge and Libyan supply disruptions boost European fuel imports, with spot prices for the fuel rising by the fourth quarter to $16 per million British thermal unit, according to the median estimate of seven analysts, traders and importers surveyed by Bloomberg News.
The fuel on spot terms delivered to Japan averaged about $722 a ton, or $13.80 per million BTU in June, from $12.50 in May, Japanese customs data show.
Asian LNG typically trades at a premium to U.K. natural gas prices. U.K. gas for December cost about 38 percent more than August supplies, according to broker data compiled by Bloomberg.
June oil imports off 4.4%
Crude oil imports in June fell 4.4 percent from a year earlier amid a less-than-expected gain in overall industrial output, according to data released Friday by the country’s Ministry for Economy, Trade and Industry.
Purchases brought into the country, the world’s third-largest oil consumer, totaled 14.5 million kiloliters last month, or about 3.046 million barrels a day, the ministry said. Oil product imports rose 15 percent to 2.8 million kiloliters compared with June 2010, according to the data.
Japan’s industrial production climbed 3.9 percent in June from May, the trade ministry reported earlier Friday. Economists had expected a 4.5 percent increase in a Bloomberg survey. A higher yen has made Japanese exports more expensive and helped to slow the economy.
Saudi Arabia supplied the most crude to the country last month, contributing 30.2 percent of overall imports, data showed. Imports of crude from Southeast Asia more than tripled in June compared with the same period in 2010.
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