April crude oil prices traded higher during the overnight and early morning hours, supported by reports that Iran halted export flows to a number of European countries. The outside market tone garnered a modest lift this morning on reports that Greece was going to receive their 2nd bailout package. However, some traders were a bit disappointed with the market's reaction in the wake of the news, with global equity markets retreating into negative territory. April crude oil breakout above its January high Sunday evening, fueled by ideas of an improving US economy and easier Chinese monetary policy. Iran has halted oil sales to French and British concerns, and that has provided an added level of tightness in the crude oil market. This comes as North Sea output was already forecasted to decline in March. A number of countries have already begun to slash their dependence on Iranian imports, including China. Chinese data overnight showed their January crude oil imports from Iran down 5.0% compared to year ago levels. The Commitments of Traders Futures and Options report as of February 14th showed non-commercial traders were net long 280,770 contracts, an increase of 35,433. Non-commercial and nonreportable traders combined held a net long position of 309,364 contracts, an increase of 29,229 in their net long positioning.
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