China's natural gas imports fell 10.6% from a year earlier to the lowest at least this year, according to customs data. It was the first year-on-year fall since November 2016.
The country imported 6.52 million tonnes of natural gas last month, falling 20.6% from September, data from the General Administration of Customs showed on November 8.
Value of the imports declined 19.8% month on month to $2.76 billion, which was also 16.6% lower than the year-ago level.
In the first ten months, China imported 77.71 million tonnes of natural gas, up 7.9% year on year; value rose 14.6% to $33.8 billion.
Natural gas prices have hiked recently in China, by 1,500 yuan/t at most in some northern provinces. This may give a chance for cheaper import gas, some insiders said.
China's natural gas demand is expected to reach 145 to 150 billion cubic meters during this winter heating season, 5-8% higher than a year ago, a gas marketing executive with China's state energy group Sinopec Corp said on November 8.
Meng Yadong, director with the marketing department of Sinopec Gas Company, told an industry seminar that the company predicts China's natural gas market to stay largely in balance this winter season, which typically starts in mid-November and ends in mid-March next year.
China's crude oil imports rose 11.5% year on year to 45.51 million tonnes last month, equivalent to 10.72 million barrels per day (bpd), compared with 10.04 million bpd in September.
Imports during the first 10 months of the year reached 414.55 million tonnes, or 9.95 million bpd, 10.5% higher than the year earlier period.
(Writing by Alex Guo Editing by Tammy Yang)
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