June 12, 2019 / 4:18 PM / 5 days ago

W. Africa Crude-Buyers elusive amid weak margins

LONDON, June 12 (Reuters) - Angolan and Nigerian grades have undergone substantial markdowns but backwardation and weak refining margins have made for slower-than-usual sales, with fears for global crude demand growth also casting a shadow.

ANGOLA

* Iran has set July prices for crude to its Asian term customers at the largest discounts in more than a decade against similar Saudi grades as it seeks preserve any advantage it can for its heavier crude while under U.S. sanctions.

* Fewer than 10 cargoes of Angolan crude remain for July loading and the country may be set for its first overhang this year with August-loading programs expected early next week.

* Weak Asian margins and backwardation have eaten into local demand as reduced Chinese crude imports raise concerns about the global economy and demand growth.

* Concerns over Asian demand convinced sellers to drastically reduce prices this month as optimism over the relative scarcity of heavier grades faded.

* An easing of the Brent-Dubai spread DUB-EFS-1M to about $3.00 from $4.30 may provide some support to Atlantic Basin grades, however.

NIGERIA

* Exxon was heard to have struggled to sell cargoes of major grade Qua Iboe, differentials of which settled at around $2.50.

* Weak European gasoline margins, a profusion of U.S. crude increasingly reaching traditional buyer strongholds in southeast Asia and weak margins in Asia are all hurting demand.

* Shell was chartered to send a VLCC of Nigerian crude to northwest Europe for mid-July arrival, the second vessel of that size carrying Nigerian sent to the region this year.

TENDERS

* The focus of world oil markets has switched from supply-side risks like OPEC production cuts and U.S. sanctions against producers Iran and Venezuela, to concerns of slowing consumption amid fears of a global recession, analysts said.

* Nigeria’s economy is expected to grow 2.7% this year, President Muhammadu Buhari said on Wednesday, in his first public speech since his inauguration for a second term last month. (Reporting by Noah Browning; Editing by Kirsten Donovan) ))

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