December crude oil prices traded higher during the early morning hours, apparently benefiting from optimism surrounding this weekend's EU summit and better than expected PMI data out of China. It seemed that reports indicating that Chinese PMI data broke a 3-month cycle of contraction went a long way in tamping down fears that the country could be facing a hard landing. The Commitments of Traders Futures and Options report as of October 18th showed non-commercial traders were net long 213,181 contracts, an increase of 15,358. Non-commercial and nonreportable traders combined held a net long position of 201,034 contracts, an increase of 4,977. Some traders viewed the speculative buying interest as a positive short term force.