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China LNG demand seen up by 25 percent in 2018: Qatar energy minister

BERLIN (Reuters) - China’s demand for liquefied natural gas (LNG) is expected to grow by 20 percent to 25 percent in 2018 despite heightened trade tensions with the United States, Qatari Energy Minister Mohammed al-Sada said.

Al-Sada said demand from China, which displaced South Korea as the world’s second largest importer of LNG in 2017, was expected to show strong growth again this year after rising about 46 percent last year.

“It looks like that growth is going to continue at 20, 25 percent, maybe more,” he told Reuters ahead of a bilateral Qatar-Germany investment conference in Berlin on Friday.

Overall global demand for LNG this year was expected to match the 11 percent jump seen in 2017, al-Sada said.

Worldwide growth is driven by new LNG consumers as well as growth in existing markets such as China, which is buying more gas to wean the country off dirty coal to reduce pollution.

Al-Sada said he hoped the United States and China would resolve their differences over trade and avert a trade war.

“I think and hope that logic and rationalism will prevail,” he said. “It is in the interest not only of the two countries, but also the rest of the world.”

China last month included LNG for the first time in its list of proposed tariffs on $60 billion worth of U.S. goods, signaling that it will not back down in a protracted trade standoff with Washington.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Leslie Adler

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