December crude oil prices traded higher during the overnight and early morning hours, supported by an EU summit agreement to reduce pressure from the European debt crisis. As a result, global equity markets rallied sharply, and the US dollar plunged to new lows for the move, both contributing to the early gains in crude oil. The positive outside tone this morning also helps soothe the decline caused by yesterday's EIA inventory data that showed a much larger than expected build of 4.735 million barrels. EIA crude stocks are 28.572 million barrels below year ago levels but stand 4.661 million barrels above the five year average. Crude oil imports for the week increased to a rate of 9.373 million barrels per day compared to 7.921 million barrels the previous week. The refinery operating rate came in at 84.8%, up 1.7% from last week.