Prices of LNG for March delivery to Asia gained 3.2% from February, averaging a record high $19.419 per million British thermal units, as limited availability and competitive buying pressures supported prices, the latest Platts Japan/Korea Marker (JKM) for month-ahead delivery showed.
The monthly average Platts JKM for delivery in March 2014 was assessed from January 16 to February 15.
At $19.419/MMBtu, the March 2014 JKM was up 1.5% from March 2013, when the monthly average price had reached $19.139/MMBtu.
Tight supplies drove prices upwards across throughout the month, with March prices finishing at the all-time high of $20.20/MMBtu on February 14, surpassing the previous high of $19.85/MMBtu on February 15, 2013, also for March delivery.
“Strong prices for February delivery –coupled with the expectation that the LNG market would tip into backwardation by March– meant that a number of northeast Asian buyers had already deferred their February demand into March,” said Stephanie Wilson, managing editor of Asia LNG at Platts, a leading global energy, petrochemicals and metals information provider and a premier source of benchmark price references. “This created more competition for cargoes at a time when the availability of free-on-board (FOB) cargoes and reload volumes were limited.”