January crude oil prices traded lower during the initial morning hours, hampered by lingering European debt concerns and sluggish Chinese export data. The outside market tone took a negative turn overnight on fears that the short term debt outlook for the Euro zone remains unresolved. There also appears to be growing concerns that the European debt situation is beginning to take its toll on global growth prospects. Chinese exports slipped to their lowest level in 9 months in November. Meanwhile, crude oil imports into China in November increased to their second highest on record. The Commitments of Traders Futures and Options report as of December 6th showed non-commercial traders were net long 227,472 contracts, an increase of 7,802. Non-commercial and nonreportable traders combined held a net long position of 254,660 contracts, for an increase of 14,619 on the week. The buying trend of the speculator is seen as a positive short term force.