December crude oil established a lower low during the early morning hours but reversed course on favorable headlines out of Europe. Some traders noted the potential for a boost in volatility, with the G 20 meeting in Cannes and as European leaders discuss the fate of Greece. While the Fed forecasted slower growth and higher unemployment in 2012, the crude oil market seemed to embrace ideas that another round of quantitative easing could be coming. Meanwhile, yesterday's EIA data showed an as-expected reading on crude stocks, which rose 1.826 million barrels on the week. This expanded the deficit compared to year ago levels to a recent extreme of 28.696 million barrels, and it also tightened up the surplus to five year average inventories to 6.95 million barrels. Crude oil imports for the week stood at 8.954 million barrels per day compared to 9.373 million barrels the previous week. The refinery operating rate gained 0.5% to 85.3%, compared to 81.80% last year and the five year average of 84.41%.