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Traders Wanted in a Once-Sleepy Gas Market With New Kingpins

  • China became world’s top buyer, while U.S. to be top supplier
  • Trading desks more important than ever to navigate the changes
The liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at the Yangshan Deepwater Port in Shanghai, China.

The liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal at the Yangshan Deepwater Port in Shanghai, China.

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
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Around the world, analysts and traders are grappling with the biggest shakeup in the 60-year history of liquefied natural gas: The emergence of two new superpowers, the U.S. and China, who are bringing more uncertainty and price fluctuations to a once-staid commodity market. 

China became the biggest importer of liquefied natural gas in December, overtaking Japan for the first time since it pioneered the industry in the 1970s. Meanwhile, the U.S. is set to become the world’s top exporter of the fossil fuel on an annual basis later this year, beating out cornerstone suppliers Qatar and Australia.