China's Jan natgas consumption sees first contraction in 2 years

BEIJING, Feb 17 (Reuters) -

* China's natural gas consumption in January saw its first year-on-year contraction in at least two years, data compiled by Chongqing Petroleum and Gas Exchange, a government-backed energy trading platform, showed on Monday.

* Last month, the country consumed 31.6 billion cubic metres (bcm), down 1% from a year earlier.

* The decline was stoked by a 14% fall in demand from industrial users and a 10% drop from power utilities, offsetting an increase from city gas users and chemical producers.

* Several analysts have cut their forecasts for gas demand in China, the world's top gas importer, as the coronavirus outbreak in the country is expected to depress industrial, commercial and transportation appetite for the fuel over the next few months.

* The total natural gas supply, not including stored gas, reached 29 bcm, with domestic gas output up 1% on-year and gas imports down 3.2%, according to the Chongqing Exchange.

* The bourse also expects a supply glut in the natural gas market in February and March, with average daily consumption down 6.2% and 11.2%, respectively, from a year earlier.

* Official data release on China's gas imports for January has been postponed until March. (Reporting by Muyu Xu and Chen Aizhu; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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