LNG demand from the Asian countries that represent the top five global importers has been generally weak since the start of the year. A recent uptick in buying holds out hope that final 2016 volumes may be modestly higher than 2015’s three-year low levels. But the continued flood of new Australian output means any support to prices will likely prove transient.

Imports by top global importer Japan, at 62.0mn tons in the first nine months of 2016, are down 2.2mn tons (3.4%) on the same...