October 30, 2015 / 2:28 PM / 4 years ago

China gets back to buying West African crude in Nov

* Exports to China back to 918,000 bpd
    * Total exports to Asia rebound to highest since August
    * India buys less, Nigerian crude hit most

    By Libby George
    LONDON, Oct 30 (Reuters) - China's loadings of West African crude oil were
set to bounce back in November from a multi-year low hit the previous month, a
Reuters survey of oil traders and shipping fixtures showed, due to more
importing companies there and higher refinery margins.
    The boost helped press overall exports to Asia to 1.74 million bpd, a
three-month high. But they remained anaemic compared with earlier in the year.
In April, a spike in buying in India pressed West African bookings to Asia to
2.4 million bpd.      
    China, a major buyer of West African crude oil, went cold as a buyer in
October amid plummeting Asian refining margins and a build up in stored oil.
Buyers in Europe and the U.S. stepped in, with the latter taking more than two
dozen West African cargoes for October loading. 
    But a bounce back in Asian refinery margins, as well as a new slate of
domestic Chinese refineries allowed to import oil, helped to boost demand for
November-loading oil.  
    "The U.S. and Europe carried the candle in October," one trader said of West
Africa loadings. "But now China is back and showing interest." 
    Traders said there would be more Chinese storage space free by the time the
cargoes booked now would arrive, in contrast to the 4 million barrels that were
stranded off an eastern port earlier this month. Additionally, China also more
than doubled, to 87.6 million tonnes, the 2016 crude oil import quota for
non-state companies.  
    Despite this, the 918,000 barrels per day (bpd) booked to load in West
Africa in November for the world's largest energy consumer was still relatively
subdued compared with earlier in the year, and stood below the 2015 running
average of 965,000 bpd.
    The slip in November bookings to India added to a backlog of nearly 15
million barrels of unsold Nigerian oil. 
    Angolan oil, which is favoured by buyers in China, has fared somewhat
better, but prices for some grades, such as Pazflor, are still under serious
pressure. 
    
 COUNTRY           NOVEMBER   BPD       OCTOBER     BPD '000s
                   CARGOES    '000s     CARGOES     
 CHINA             29         918       24          735
 INDIA             16         507       18          552
 INDONESIA         4          127       4           123
 TAIWAN            3          95        3           92
 JAPAN             1          32        1           31
 S. KOREA          0          0         0           0
 OTHERS            2          63        3           92
 TOTAL             55         1,742     53          1,624
    

    
 (Reporting by Libby George; Editing by William Hardy)
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