Singapore — JKM LNG derivative trading volumes cleared on financial exchanges in the first half of the year rose 83% year on year to 78.8 million mt, or 409,875 lots, according to exchange and broker data.
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Open interest at the end of June also hit a record monthly high, with 94,734 recorded across the two key exchanges -- Intercontinental Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.
June JKM derivatives volumes cleared on the exchanges totaled 57,695 lots, or 11.1 million mt, up 29% year on year.
JKM derivatives cleared on ICE made up 96% of total open interest. Last year was a record trading year for LNG derivatives, with 107 million mt cleared on ICE and CME.
The increases in traded volume and open interest come despite a slowdown in trading volumes in both the physical and paper markets this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Traders told S&P Global Platts that spot trading liquidity for physical cargoes has fallen due to an uncertain near-term outlook as northeast Asian importers tackle disruption in downstream markets in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"This is the most illiquid I've seen the market as a trader in many years," said a trading source at a portfolio major.
Lower physical trading volumes across the LNG and gas markets could also slow the growth in hedging demand, market sources told Platts.
In terms of contracts, there was also significant open interest on the front three months (August, September and October) on ICE, with a total of 23,057 lots, or 24% of total open interest. September held the greatest open interest, at 9,221 lots, followed by November at 8,013 lots.
Average open interest across 2021 stood at 42,393 lots, accounting for 45% of total open interest. The average open interest for 2022 was 8,316 lots, or 9% of total open interest.