TOKYO, May 21 (Reuters) - Japan’s imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) fell to the lowest in a decade in April as the coronavirus outbreak began to hit demand in the world’s biggest consumer of the fuel that is used for power generation and city gas.
Japan imported 5.132 million tonnes of LNG last month, down 8.8% from a year earlier and the lowest since May 2010, data released by Japan’s Ministry of Finance on Thursday showed.
The government declared a state of emergency in early April, effectively shutting down major sectors of the world’s third-biggest economy.
With LNG cargoes imported in April being loaded well before the country’s emergency declaration, it is likely that shipments to Japan in the next few weeks will fall further as the coronavirus pandemic has hit gas demand across the world.
Buyers in Asia and Europe cancelled loadings for about 20 LNG cargoes from the United States in June, trade sources told Reuters in late April.
Spot prices for LNG in Asia LNG-AS hit a record low of $1.85 per million British thermal units early in May as buyers in the region, the destination for about 75% of the world’s LNG cargoes, have curtailed imports.
Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by ChristianSchmollinger