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South Korea’s December LNG Imports Shrink 9.5% as Prices Rise

Jan. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Imports of liquefied natural gas into South Korea, the world’s second-largest buyer of the fuel, dropped 9.5 percent in December as prices rose.

Shipments fell to 4.32 million metric tons from 4.77 million tons a year earlier, data on the Korea Customs Service’s website showed today. Still, the monthly volume was the second-biggest in 2012, after 4.64 million tons in February, and compared with 2.99 million tons in November. The average price paid per ton rose to $762.74 from $750.07 while the total cost of the purchases dropped to $3.29 billion, compared with $3.58 billion in the same period a year earlier, the data showed.

South Korea buys most of the cleaner-burning fuel under multi-year contracts from suppliers including Qatar, Indonesia and Oman. Last month’s purchases included 610,935 tons on the spot market costing about $758.42 a ton from Belgium, Trinidad and Tobago, Equatorial Guinea and Nigeria, the data showed.

State-run Korea Gas Corp., the world’s biggest LNG buyer, said today that December sales rose 15 percent to 4.81 million tons from a year earlier.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sangim Han in Seoul at sihan@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at jrogers73@bloomberg.net; Alexander Kwiatkowski at akwiatkowsk2@bloomberg.net

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