China dominates Asian LNG demand growth
A key feature in the European gas market this year has been the relative indifference of LNG imports to the rocketing prices. While high global prices have had an impact on demand in certain markets (e.g. the more price sensitive Indian market), Asian demand has generally been robust, growing at an average 2.3 mt per month so far in 2021 and pulling LNG away from Europe.
The Asian LNG import growth has been dominated by China, as can be seen in the chart above showing the difference in 2021 LNG imports from 2020 levels for China (dark blue) and for the rest of Asia combined (lighter blue). China has faced an extremely tight energy market against the backdrop of a Covid demand recovery, low hydro and coal import restrictions. This has led China to comprise 87% of the Asian demand growth in Sep 2021 from Sep 2020, as the government orders energy firms to secure winter supplies at all costs.