LONDON, Nov 8 (Reuters) - Differentials for Nigerian and Angolan crude held unchanged on Thursday, as sellers refused to cut their offer prices despite a growing surplus of oil and expensive freight rates that have paralysed spot activity, trading sources said.
* Rates for taking cargoes of West African crude to Asia have eased a little in the latest week, but are still just shy of their highest levels in two years.
* The daily rate for a VLCC sailing between the Bonny Light terminal and a major Chinese port, for example, rose as high as 96 in World Scale, from closer to 60 a month ago.
* Around 10 cargoes remain unsold from the Angolan loading programme for December, out of an original 46. But traders said this was an unusually large number given that there is just one week to go until the release of the January schedule.
* Spot trade has been thin for Angolan and Nigerian crude, and sellers were coming under increasing pressure to cut their offer prices, one trading source said.
* A significant portion of the 64-strong December loading programme for Nigeria was still said to be up for grabs, two traders said.
* Key grades such as Bonny Light and Qua Iboe have been offered this week at a premium of $1.75 a barrel to dated Brent, but no cargoes have changed hands.
* Total exports of crude oil from West Africa’s main producing countries will ease to 3.86 million barrels per day (bpd) in December, from 3.88 million bpd in November, led by declines in Angolan output, monthly loading programmes showed.
* China’s crude oil imports rose to an all-time high of 9.61 million bpd in October, a 32 percent increase on the same month last year, thanks to record demand from private refiners and strong profit margins.
* The United States on Monday reimposed sanctions against Iran’s oil exports to punish Tehran for its involvement in several Middle Eastern conflicts. For a factbox on the “knowns and unknowns of U.S. Iran oil sanction waivers”, click here: (Reporting by Amanda Cooper; Editing by Dale Hudson) ))