December crude oil prices trended lower during the initial morning hours, pressured in part by uncertainty surrounding today's EU summit. Some traders were puzzled with the lack of support in the crude oil market in the wake of somewhat upbeat Chinese economic data released overnight. The crude oil market also seemed to discount reports that showed Chinese implied oil demand climbing to a record high level in September. The supply situation in the US crude oil market remains more than ample, with EIA inventories of 369.23 million barrels sitting at the highest level for this week since 2010. EIA data showed crude stocks rose 2.86 million barrels last week, which was nearly two times larger than expected. Current inventory are 36.331 million barrels above year ago levels and 37.005 million barrels above the five year average. Another negative for prices seemed to come from further gains in US production to the highest level since May 1995. Crude oil imports for the week stood at 8.347 million barrels per day compared to 8.221 million barrels the previous week. The refinery operating rate was up 0.7% to 87.4%, which compares to 83.1% last year and the five year average of 83.71%.
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