Japan May spot LNG prices fall to lowest in more than two years

TOKYO (Reuters) - Prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) spot cargoes for Japan, the world’s top buyer, fell in May to the lowest since the trade ministry started publishing figures more than two years ago, official data showed on Thursday.

The average price of spot LNG contracted in May fell by 10 cents from the previous month to $4.10 per mmBtu, the monthly data by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) showed, down from $14.80 two years ago.

The average price of spot cargoes that arrived in Japan in May fell by $1.50 from a month earlier to $4.30 per mmBtu, down from $16.30 two years ago.

The prices compared with the current spot Asian LNG price of $4.90. Spot prices fell to as low as $4 in mid-April but have since recovered on short-term supply tightness.

METI surveys spot LNG cargoes bought by Japanese utilities and other importers, but excludes cargo-by-cargo deals linked to benchmarks such as the U.S. natural gas Henry Hub index.

It only publishes a price if there is a minimum of two eligible cargoes reported by buyers.

Prices are converted to delivery on an ex-ship basis.

Reporting by Osamu Tsukimori; Editing by Tom Hogue