W. Africa Crude-Chinese Lunar New Year hobbles Spot Trade
The onset of the Chinese Lunar New Year left spot trading on the West African market at a near standstill on Monday, traders said, but demand from Chinese refiners has been strong enough of late to push up differentials to multi-year highs.
The approach of the New Year holiday has prompted a flurry of demand from Chinese refiners for Angolan cargoes, to the point where traders said barely any March-loading barrels were left for sale.
Nigerian grades Qua Iboe, Bonny Light and Forcados have all received a boost, in part from European refiners that have needed alternatives to Libyan or Algerian crudes that have been in shorter supply.
ExxonMobil was said to be offering two cargoes of Qua Iboe at a premium of about $2.25 above dated Brent, a touch below levels late last week.