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Sustained China-US trade war could result in 2% rise in global LNG prices: BRG

Singapore — A sustained US-China trade war into the next decade may increase average global LNG prices by 2%, with BRG Chair and Managing Director Christopher Goncalves said Thursday.

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"If US steel tariffs, which affect the cost of new liquefaction facilities, and Chinese retaliatory tariffs on US LNG imports remain in place into the next decade, worldwide average prices will go up 2%," Goncalves said at the CWC LNG Asia Pacific Summit in Singapore.

The impact will be particularly felt during the peak winter demand season, he added.

If both tariffs remain in place over 2020-25, US LNG exports and China's LNG imports could both decrease significantly, Goncalves said.

US exports to Europe might decrease by 7.7 Bcm/year, and exports to Asia by 11.3 Bcm/year, he added.

China's LNG imports could be cut by 5 Bcm/year, but compensated partially by additional pipeline imports of about 4.4 Bcm/year from Central Asia and Russia, he said.

China has imported nearly 50 bcm of LNG in 2018 to date, according to S&P Global Platts Analytics, while the US has exported more than 20 bcm over the same period.

"There is a lot of speculation about who wins and loses, but everybody is impacted and you'll see distortions and cost increases across the board," he said.

China last month imposed retaliatory tariffs on an additional $60 billion worth of US imports that included a 10% tariff on LNG, effective September 24.

The latest tit-for-tat escalation in the trade war between the two countries came after the US said it would impose a 10% tariff on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports from September 24, and will further lift the duty to 25% from January 1, 2019.

-- Abache Abreu, abache.abreu@spglobal.com

-- Yi-Jeng Huang, yi.jeng.huang@spglobal.com

-- Edited by Wendy Wells, newsdesk@spglobal.com