March crude oil prices traded higher during the early morning hours, helped by a weaker US Dollar, higher global equity markets and optimism surrounding Tuesday's State of the Union Address. Some traders suggested that this morning's higher pricing could be the result of demand news from a Chinese think-tank that forecasted the country's 2011 crude oil demand to increase by over 7.0%. While Tuesday afternoon reports indicated a larger than expected crude oil inventory build, that seemed to be offset by a surprisingly large drawdown in distillate stocks. Expectations for this morning's EIA inventory report are for crude oil stocks to increase around 1.0 million barrels, helped by a pick up in imports.
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