Sept 24 (Reuters) - Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will start publishing benchmark prices of short-term contracts for liquefied natural gas imported from the Middle East and elsewhere, the Nikkei reported.
The ministry aims to stimulate price-sensitive short-term trades and place downward pressure on LNG procurement costs, the newspaper reported.
The daily noted that previously there was no data serving as a yardstick for the prices that electricity and gas companies pay for short-term contracts.
Short-term deals account for only about 20 percent of gas contracts in Japan, lower than those in China and South Korea, the paper said.
The METI will calculate prices based on its survey of importers and trade statistics, and disclose data later in fiscal 2013, the Nikkei said. Releases on a quarterly basis are planned starting next fiscal year.
The ministry hopes to use the data as settlement prices on the world's first LNG futures market which is set to open on the Tokyo Commodity Exchange, according to the business daily.
Japan, the world's biggest LNG importer, is seeking to create a hub market for international trades of the gas, it said.