THE Singapore Sling is a cocktail with such a variety of ingredients that few ever taste exactly alike. So it may seem an odd name to apply to a contract to help standardise the global trade in gas. That has not deterred the Singapore Exchange, a market for stocks, bonds and derivatives. Last year, as part of the city-state’s push to become a global trading hub for liquefied natural gas (LNG), it developed the slightly laboured SLInG, a spot-price index for Asian LNG. On January 25th it complemented this with a derivatives contract. There is a long way to go though. As yet the spot market accounts for only about 5% of volumes traded in Asia, executives say.
Instead, the international gas market is dominated by long-term contracts linked to the price of oil, both for gas delivered via pipeline and as LNG. This is an anomaly that dates back to the 1960s, when European suppliers developing their first gasfields had no price on which to base long-term contracts, so used oil instead. Since then, supply and demand for these commodities have diverged; oil indexation increasingly fails to reflect the disparities.
Analysts believe that, as a result,…Continue reading