(Adds milestone, detail, graphic) By Aaron Sheldrick TOKYO, Nov 11 (Reuters) - Prices for spot liquefied natural gas (LNG) cargoes imported into Japan, the world's biggest buyer of the fuel, rose to a 2020 high in October, recovering from record lows earlier this year as demand recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic. The average contract price for spot LNG cargoes shipped to Japan in October rose to $6 per million British thermal units (mmBtu), according to data released by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) on Wednesday. That was higher than $4.50 mmBtu in September and $2.20 mmBtu in May, the data showed. The price for LNG cargoes imported into Japan - reflecting actual prices paid rather than those derived from surveys or indices - has more than doubled since its May low, when the pandemic eviscerated demand for gas and other commodities. The world's third-largest economy is slowly recovering from its biggest post-war economic contraction and now has relatively low numbers of new daily coronavirus infections, even as a fresh wave ravages Europe, the United States and other parts of the world. Industrial activity is returning, driving demand for electricity, with LNG being one of Japan's main fuels for power generation. METI surveys spot LNG cargoes bought by Japanese utilities and other importers, but excludes deals linked to benchmarks such as the U.S. natural gas Henry Hub index. It only publishes a price if there is a minimum of two eligible cargoes reported by buyers. (Reporting by Aaron Sheldrick; Editing by Devika Syamnath)
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