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China to Post Record Decline in LNG Imports as Economy Slows

  • Blast furnace rates in Tangshan fall to a four-month low
  • Economic outlook hinges on virus and property market

China is set to post a record drop in liquefied natural gas imports this year, which will return Japan to the top spot as the world’s biggest buyer of the seaborne fuel, according to Wood Mackenzie Ltd.

The research firm expects cargoes to fall 14% to 69 million tons in 2022, only the second decline since China began imports in 2006. The reasons for LNG’s fall from favor are many and varied: a subdued economy, rising international prices, government support for clean coal, a warmer-than-usual winter, and growth in the use of renewable energy. Higher domestic gas production and more supply from pipelines have also reduced shipments.