May crude oil prices grinded higher during the initial morning hours, supported by weakness in the US dollar and prospects that China's central bank could move to ease monetary policy. The crude oil market has largely been unaffected by the latest round of monthly reports from the IEA an OPEC. While both agencies left their 2012 global oil demand forecasts unchanged, they noted increases in production. Some traders suggested that the crude oil market is likely to turn its focus to this weekend's meeting among representatives of western nations over Iran's nuclear ambitions. Meanwhile, the EIA reported an increase of 2.791 million barrels in US crude oil supplies last week. Crude oil imports for the week stood at 8.522 million barrels per day, down more than 12% from last week's pace. The refinery operating rate was down 1.9% to 83.8%, which compares to 81.4% last year and the five year average of 83.83%.
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