LONDON, April 15 (Reuters) - Angolan May loading cargoes were almost sold out by Monday, just ahead of the release of the June loading programme expected early this week. Meanwhile, buyers of Nigerian oil were said to be buying cargoes for less than relatively high offering prices.
* Equinor was heard to have issued a sell tender for a cargo of Pazflor, believed to be among the last in the market for May loading.
* Differentials for Angolan again touched near all-time highs this month on strong Asian demand for heavy-medium grades suitable for refining into middle distillates, as U.S. sanctions pushed comparable Iranian and Venezuelan crude out of markets.
* Major grades Bonny Light and Qua Iboe continued to be indicated at or above a $2.00 premium compared to dated Brent
* Buyers especially in Europe have judged the prices too high, and Exxon Mobil was heard to have recently moved a cargo of Qua for below the current indications, although details did not immediately emerge
* Traders said a widening Brent-Dubai spread, which when it hit record lows earlier this year had aided shipping costs for East-bound shipments, was now making Nigerian less attractive there as well and could push differentials down
* Uruguay’s ANCAP has issued a buy tender for July 1-6 arrival.
* Iran’s oil minister said on Sunday that U.S. sanctions on Iran and Venezuela and tensions in Libya have made the supply-demand balance in the global oil market fragile, and warned of consequences for increasing pressures on Tehran.
* In a possible sign that China’s economy has lost momentum, imports of major commodities was lacklustre in the first quarter, with the notable exception of crude oil.
* Oil prices halted their rally with Brent futures falling below $71 per barrel on signals that Russia may exit production cuts.
Reporting by Noah Browning; editing by David Evans