February 28, 2020 / 7:42 AM / a month ago

GLOBAL LNG-Asian LNG prices steady but traders wary of demand slowdown

* Global shares on track for biggest weekly fall since 2008 crisis

* Low LNG prices stokes demand from India, S.Korea

* Supply ample with several cargo offers

By Jessica Jaganathan

SINGAPORE, Feb 28 (Reuters) - Asian spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices stabilised this week though traders remained wary regarding overall demand as the spread of coronavirus threatens to dent the global economy.

The average LNG price for April delivery into northeast Asia LNG-AS is estimated at around $3 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), steady from the previous week, but still near record low prices, several traders said.

"We were worried about China initially but now with the virus spreading, I don't think spot prices will be recovering any time soon," a Singapore-based trader said.

Global share prices are on track for their biggest weekly fall since the global financial crisis in 2008 as virus-related disruptions to travel and supply chains fuel fears of recession in the United States and the euro zone.

For LNG, some bargain hunters appeared in the market either seeking or buying cargoes for April while availability for March cargoes are limited, a second Singapore-based trader said.

South Korea's GS Energy, Posco and Prism Energy International entered the spot market seeking cargoes, while India's Gujarat State Petroleum Corp (GSPC) and Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL) sought cargoes for March and April, traders said.

China's appetite for LNG also appeared to be slowly resuming with shipments to the world's second largest importer of the super-chilled fuel rising last week for the first time in five.

This week, LNG imports into China are expected to rise further by 11% from last week, Refinitiv Eikon data shows.

PetroChina on Wednesday bought a cargo for delivery in April from commodity trader Vitol through the S&P Global Platts' pricing process also known as market-on-close (MOC).

This follows two cargoes the firm bought in the spot market, traders said, though this could not be immediately confirmed. It was also not clear if the cargoes are for delivery into China.

Still, supply was more than ample with several cargoes being offered in the market, traders said.

Oman LNG, Russia's Sakhalin 2 plant, Angola LNG and Malaysia's Petronas were all offering cargoes.

Osaka Gas, is also discussing a swap deal offering a cargo for loading from the United States and buying one for delivery into Japan, sources said.

Shipments of three LNG cargoes from Indonesia's Tangguh LNG Plant to Fujian province in China have been delayed because of the coronavirus outbreak, Indonesia's upstream oil and gas regulator SKK Migas said on Thursday. (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan; editing by Jason Neely)

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