Asian Prices Slide On Sluggish Demand, Mild Weather And Nuclear Boost



Reuters

LONDON, March 23 (Reuters) - Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices fell for a third week as above-average temperatures softened demand across North Asia and top consumer Japan resumed output from a long-shut nuclear reactor.

Spot prices for May delivery <LNG-AS> slipped to about $7.10 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), 60 cents below last week's levels, said several trade sources surveyed by Reuters.

Japan's power utility Kyushu Electric Power Co restarted a reactor at its Genkai plant on Friday, the fifth nuclear power station in the country to be cleared under new safety regulations imposed after the Fukushima disaster.

Kansai Electric appears to have failed to find a buyer for its cargo from Australia's AP LNG project for loading May 21-22, traders said.

Angola reissued its tender for a cargo loading on the Etosha tanker in early April, traders said.

With the Atlantic-Asia spread tightening, more U.S. cargoes were traded within the region, including Mexico, where several recent shipments are heading.

Mexico's state-run CFE receives bids on Friday in a tender for two cargoes for delivery in April, trade sources said.

A free-on-board cargo was being offered from Norway's Snoehvit liquefaction plant for early May, several traders said.

A European trader made an offer through a platform of market intelligence firm Kpler for a cargo to be delivered in late May to Japan, Korea, Taiwan or China (JKTC) at $6.90 per mmBtu, several traders said.

"The whole market is talking about it and wondering how firm it is, considering it was for JKTC," one trader said.

Exxon is still assessing damage to its natural gas processing plant in the mountains of Papua New Guinea after an earthquake that also led to a suspension of LNG exports from the country.

Exxon purchased a cargo due to arrive at the facility in April for operational reasons.

Royal Dutch Shell won a tender to deliver a May 6-7 cargo to Jordan's National Electric Power Company, traders said.

(Additional reporting by Jessica Jaganathan Editing by David Goodman)



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