May crude oil prices traded higher overnight but reversed course during the early morning hours. Some traders attributed the early weakness to gains in the US dollar and a measure of weakness in global equity markets. While overnight economic data in China revealed a surprise March trade surplus, it seemed that the market interpreted slight weakness in Chinese imports as a negative for global oil demand. The import figures pegged Chinese crude oil imports up more than 8.5% above year ago levels but off of last month's record pace. Scheduled talks this weekend in Istanbul to discuss Iran's nuclear program are seen as a positive step in resolving the conflict and one reducing the threat of supply disruptions. This has weighed on the fear premium in the crude oil market and exerted a downside force on prices.
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