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Global LNG - Asian LNG prices dip to a 3 yr seasonal low

SINGAPORE, (Reuters) - Asian spot prices for liquefied natural gas (LNG) this week fell to their lowest for this time of the year since 2016 as more supply entered the market from Egypt and Australia, with the lower prices attracting Indian demand, trade sources said.

Spot prices for April delivery to Northeast Asia <LNG-AS> dropped to $5.45 per million British thermal units (mmBtu) this week, down 25 cents from the previous week. That was the lowest for mid-March since 2016.

Prices for cargoes delivered in May are estimated to be around $5.50 per mmBtu, indicating some price recovery could be coming, trade sources said.

The continued drop in prices has been attracting buying interest from India, they added.

For instance, India's Reliance Industries issued a tender earlier this month seeking 12 cargoes for April 2019 to March 2020, while Emirates National Oil Company had sought four cargoes for delivery into India over April to July, they said.

ENOC likely bought the cargoes at $5.50 to $5.60 per mmBtu, they said, though details of sellers were not immediately known.

India's GSPC and Torrent Power had also purchased spot cargoes earlier this month.

Companies do not typically comment on such deals.

Still, supply was ample with Egyptian state-owned company EGAS offering at least four LNG cargoes for loading in April, one of the traders said.

Australia's Ichthys project may also have offered a cargo for late March to early April loading, a second trader said.

Demand from China remained muted as hopes dimmed that Washington and Beijing could reach a deal soon to resolve their long-standing trade dispute.

A summit to seal a trade deal between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping will not happen at the end of March as previously discussed because more work is needed in U.S.-China negotiations, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Thursday.

Buying interest was also low in Europe, industry sources said.

"Europe is quite calm ... more offers than bids, I would say," said an LNG trader.

The tradable price level in Europe is at a discount of around 20 cents per mmBtu to the Dutch price.

The April price on the Dutch and British gas hubs fell by around $0.30 per mmBtu between March 8-14 to slightly below $5.20 per mmBtu, the lowest level since August 2017, Refinitiv Eikon data showed.

The May price is almost at the same level. (Reporting by Jessica Jaganathan, additional reporting by Ekaterina Kravtsova in London; Editing by Joseph Radford)


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FEATURED COLUMNS

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