December crude oil traded sharply higher during the early morning hours, supported by a positive outside market tone, favorable German sentiment readings and a round of well-received corporate earnings from British Petroleum and BG Group. Additionally, the nearby WTI crude oil spread went into a backwardated pricing structure yesterday for the first time since October 2008, reflecting a level of tightness in the market and concerns over Cushing Oklahoma supply levels. Last week's EIA inventory data showed US crude supplies running nearly 8.0% below year ago levels, and that has also been a concern for some traders. Some traders suggested that the crude oil market appeared to be factoring in favorable result to the European debt situation at Wednesday's EU summit, as well as a positive read in US economic sentiment this morning.