(Bloomberg) — China’s biggest energy groups are diverting more liquefied natural gas away from their sagging domestic market, offering some relief to desperate buyers suffering from supply shortages elsewhere in the world.
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Cnooc is offering to sell a cargo of LNG for November loading from its North West Shelf export project in Australia, according to traders familiar with the matter. That comes after other major charterers, including Sinopec and PetroChina Co., sold several LNG shipments from U.S. projects to energy-starved Europe throughout the year, traders said.
The supplies should provide modest respite to gas markets rocked by Russia shutting down a key pipeline to European customers. Gas prices in Europe and Asia are trading at an all-time high for this time of year, forcing governments to consider unprecedented measures to protect businesses and consumers.
China was the world’s biggest buyer of LNG in 2021, but the nation’s strict Covid Zero policies and economic slowdown mean demand has fallen more than 20% this year. The divergence between China and the rest of the world means global buyers are willing to pay much higher interest rates.
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Even smaller Chinese LNG importers such as ENN Energy Holdings Ltd. and JOVO Group, are actively offering to sell consignments for delivery to ports in Asia, traders said.
Lithium prices in China are nearing all-time highs, in a sign that a global shortage of the material used in lithium-ion batteries is not abating. Lithium carbonate is selling for nearly 500,000 yuan ($72,090) a tonne, according to data from Asian Metal Inc. China’s government last week said it plans to set up a monitoring mechanism aimed at stabilizing the prices of raw materials, including lithium and rare earths.
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