Asian spot LNG edges up as hot weather spurs demand

SINGAPORE (Reuters)Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices rose this week to their highest levels since January, as hot weather across the region spurred more demand for the super-chilled fuel, and as it tracked gains in European gas prices on the back of maintenance outages and lower wind output.

The average LNG price for July delivery into north-east Asia rose to $10.90/MMBtu, up from $10.50/MMBtu in the previous week and its strongest levels since Jan. 5, industry sources estimated.

"Asian delivered prices have edged higher in the past few days... as demand from southeast Asian buyers and gains by European prices in the past three days have offered support," said Samuel Good, head of LNG pricing at commodity pricing agency Argus. He added that forecasts of above-average temperatures in northeast China for the coming month could lift gas-fired generation to meet greater power sector cooling demand.

Utilities in India are also expected to seek additional spot LNG volumes to be delivered in June and July due to an ongoing heatwave, said Rystad Energy analyst Masanori Odaka in a note.

Meanwhile, PetroVietnam Gas said on Thursday it received its third LNG cargo this year for power generation amid rising demand rising demand due to heatwaves.

Additionally, the market appeared to shrug off a power outage at the Bintulu LNG complex owned by Malaysia's Petronas, added Argus' Good, with the facility appearing to continue some loadings ahead of the issue's resolution.

In Europe, gas prices are seen holding steady for the upcoming week, pressured by above-average temperatures and stable pipeline flows, but supported by renewable power generation uncertainties and reduced feedgas flows at Sabine Pass LNG in the U.S., said Ana Subasic, natural gas and LNG analyst at data and analytics firm Kpler.

S&P Global Commodity Insights assessed its daily North West Europe LNG Marker (NWM) price benchmark for cargoes delivered in July on an ex-ship (DES) basis at $9.649/MMBtu on May 16, a $0.15/MMBtu discount to the July gas price at the Dutch TTF hub.

Argus assessed the July delivery price at $9.60/MMBtu, while Spark Commodities assessed it at $9.451/MMBtu. On spot LNG freight, both the Atlantic and Pacific rates held steady this week, said Spark Commodities analyst Qasim Afghan. The Atlantic spot rate was estimated at $42,750/day on Friday, while the Pacific rate was unchanged at $46,750/day, he said.

(Reporting by Emily Chow)

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