October crude oil prices registered a lower low during the Thursday evening session but managed to rebound during the early morning hours. Some traders indicated that the crude oil market was drafting support from a rally in global equity markets, optimism following yesterday's ECB bond buying program and a round of better than expected European economic data points overnight. Additionally, reports that Chinese officials signed off on new infrastructure spending of around 1 trillion Yuan is seen as a supportive force for global oil demand. However, some traders were cautious over the potential for a strategic petroleum release in the wake of a White House meeting with oil industry insiders to discuss options. Yesterday's EIA crude stocks report showed inventories falling by a larger than expected draw of 7.426 million barrels last week. EIA crude stocks are 4.01 million barrels above year ago levels and 22.877 million barrels above the five year average. Crude oil imports for the week stood at 8.035 million barrels per day compared to 9.495 million barrels the previous week. The refinery operating rate was down 5.1% to 86.1%, compared to 89.0% last year and the five year average of 86.64%.
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