Bloomberg News

China’s LNG Imports Rise 17% in September; Coal Increases 25%

October 24, 2011

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- China’s liquefied natural gas imports rose 17 percent in September from a year earlier, customs data showed. Coal imports surged to a record.

LNG purchases increased to 1.15 million metric tons, according to data today from the Beijing-based General Administration of Customs today. China imported a record 1.18 million tons in July.

The average cost of LNG rose to $554 a ton last month, or $10.65 per million British thermal units, according to Bloomberg calculations based on customs data. That compares with $3.63 per million Btu for benchmark U.S. gas futures traded at Henry Hub today.

China buys LNG on a term basis from Indonesia, Malaysia, Qatar and Australia. Spot, or short-term purchases, totaled 246,274 tons, 19 percent lower than August, according to the data. Spot supplies cost an average $797 a ton, or $15.33 per million Btu, compared with $746 in August. U.K. benchmark futures, typically used to price Asian LNG, averaged 62.45 pence a therm last month.

The country bought 981,780 tons of natural gas delivered via pipeline from Turkmenistan at an average cost of $473 a ton, according to the data. LNG is natural gas chilled to liquid form, reducing its volume for shipping to destinations not connected by pipeline.

Imports of power-plant and coking coal increased 25 percent compared with a year earlier to 19.1 million metric tons, according to the data. The volume surpassed the previous 17.5 million-ton record in July.

Coal Supplies

Coal deliveries cost an average of about $117 a ton for supplies from countries including Indonesia, Australia, Mongolia, Vietnam and South Africa. Prices of coal at Australia’s Newcastle, the Asian benchmark price, averaged about $122 a ton in September, according to data from IHS McCloskey on Bloomberg.

China’s power-station coal price has risen to the highest level in three years as power stations and central heating plants build up stocks to meet winter demand. Coal with an energy value of 5,500 kilocalories per kilogram gained 0.6 percent to a range of 850 yuan ($133) to 860 yuan a ton as of Oct. 23 compared with a week earlier, according to data today from the China Coal Transport and Distribution Association.

--Editors: Alexander Kwiatkowski, Christian Schmollinger

To contact the reporter on this story: Dinakar Sethuraman in Singapore at dinakar@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net


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