FRANKFURT, April 5 (Reuters) - Germany imported 8.2% less natural gas in January than in the same 2021 month amid tight global supply but its bill rose 217% as prices surged, official data from trade statistics office BAFA showed on Tuesday.
BAFA releases import data with a two-month delay so the impact Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February and efforts by European governments to sanction Moscow for its actions is not reflected.
BAFA's monthly figures showed January imports were 406,356 Terajoules (TJ), or 11.6 billion cubic metres (bcm), compared with 442,876 TJ recorded a year earlier.
Gas, power and carbon traders monitor gas imports because the supply and demand balance can change prices and traded volumes in all three markets.
Gas statistics also correlate with coal, which competes with gas in the production of electricity, while also giving clues about demand for mandatory European carbon emissions permits.
As low inventories in winter propelled gas prices to records, Germany's import bill increased to 5.7 billion euros ($6.25 billion) compared with the same month a year earlier at 1.8 billion.
The average price paid on the border in January per TJ was 238.8% up year-on-year at 14,088.24 euros and equivalent to 5.07 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh), BAFA said.
Germany, Europe's biggest economy, mainly imports gas from Russia, Norway, the Netherlands, Britain and Denmark via pipelines.
German gas stocks were at 26.7% of available storage capacity last week, European gas infrastructure group GIE's website showed.
That compared with 27,8% a year earlier, showing the inventory side was recovering.
($1 = 0.9126 euros)
Reporting by Vera Eckert, editing by Ed Osmond