After a strong end to 2016, imports rates in Japan and South Korea could ease at the start of 2017.
Cold weather, low gas stocks and reduced nuclear output supported a rise in LNG intake in South Korea in November, with imports increasing by 26% year on year. The surge followed a 9% year-on-year rise in October but was in contrast to the declines seen during much of the year. Further declines are expected this year. The new Shin Kori 3 reactor is now online and the country’s other nuclear plants are operating normally. Strong nuclear output will put pressure on gas-fired power generation and the need for additional imports through 2017. Additionally, with average-to-above-average temperatures likely to dominate in February and March, the weather-related potential for import growth looks weak in the latter half of Q1, following the colder weather that has already hit parts of the country.
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