The trade in liquefied natural gas (LNG) grew by just 2.1% last year, to 241.2mn metric tons. There was a marked change in the import trend, with Asia importing less and Europe more. Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries, on the other hand, became a larger importing region. For the first time since 2009, LNG net imports in Asia declined by 2.8% to 172.8mn metric tons, mainly due to weather related factors, gas-fuel competitiveness and a slowdown in economic growth. Japan and South Korea, the two biggest importers in the world, saw imports fall by 7.2mn metric tons, or 5.8%. The Chinese demand also dwindled by 0.9% to 19.7mn metric tons, compared to an average annual growth rate of 20.1% from 2010 to 2014. This was attributed to a slowing economic growth and poor gas price competitiveness. Minor gains in Thailand by 1.3mn metric tons and Taiwan by 1.1mn metric tons, and the beginning of imports in Pakistan of more than 1mn metric tons were not enough to offset the regional decline.
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