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Amid comfortable levels of inventories for this time of the year, Asian LNG buyers have been sitting on the sidelines of the spot market this week, hoping for the surge in natural gas prices after the Hamas attack on Israel to fade.
Natural gas prices in Asia and Europe jumped this week, following a suspected sabotage on an offshore gas pipeline in Europe and the threat to supply from the Eastern Mediterranean in case of further flare-ups in the Hamas-Israel war.
Buyers in Asia are not rushing this week to buy spot LNG supply for the winter at prices that have now surged to the highest in eight months, traders have told Bloomberg.
Last week, spot LNG prices in Asia for November delivery slumped by 10% week-on-week to $13.5 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) amid soft demand and warm weather, industry sources told Reuters.
This week, the spot LNG cargoes were offered in the high teens per MMBtu, according to traders who spoke to Bloomberg.
With inventories at comfortable levels, buyers in Asia wait for a possible de-escalation in the Middle East.
Security of gas deliveries to Europe also came into focus this week, with a suspected sabotage on the Finland-Estonia Balticconnector offshore gas pipeline.
“It is likely that the damage to both the gas pipeline and the data cable is caused by external activity. What specifically caused the damage is not yet known,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in a statement on Tuesday.
In addition, the global gas markets face concerns about supply from the eastern Mediterranean which could be in jeopardy after the Hamas attack on Israel and the possibility of further escalating tensions in the Middle East and eastern Mediterranean.
The front-month futures at the Dutch TTF hub, the benchmark for Europe’s gas trading, have soared by 30% since Monday and were up by 3% on the day as of 7:12 a.m. GMT on Friday.
By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com
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Tsvetana is a writer for Oilprice.com with over a decade of experience writing for news outlets such as iNVEZZ and SeeNews.