West Africa Slides Into Sluggish Summer

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• Hopes that West African crude will find an outlet are all but pinned on China now that India appears to be drowning in a deadly Covid-19 wave. • The market for Nigerian crude is facing shrinkage on all three major fronts -- Europe, South Africa and India -- and twisting Abuja's arm to lower prices. June-loading programs are traditionally associated with the end of refinery maintenance and the start of the summer driving season -- but not this year, and especially not for West Africa. Europe, Nigeria’s key market, has yet to recover while India, which has propped up Nigeria through the pandemic economy, is suffering a massive viral wave. The final hope is that China, which has suppressed incremental purchases for months, will return in force for medium, sweet Angolan and Congolese fare (OM Briefing Feb.12'21). As of Apr. 22, Angola had around six May loaders overhanging the June program after whittling down a very stubborn 10-cargo overhang the previous day. While Nigeria’s situation is much harder to read, sources reported more than 20 May-loading cargoes still for sale, alongside a number of unsold April cargoes as the first June schedules emerged. Estimated West African

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