July crude oil prices traded lower throughout the overnight and early morning hours, pressured by a pull back in risk sentiment and round of weak economic data points. Global oil demand prospects came under added pressure in the wake of Chinese manufacturing data that came in weaker than expected. Concerns toward slowing economic growth were exacerbated with data in Europe that showed a further contraction in manufacturing, as well as unemployment at record highs. Yesterday's EIA inventory data showed a larger than expected build, and pushed supplies to their highest level since 1990. EIA crude stocks are 10.934 million barrels above year ago levels and 34.314 million barrels above the five year average. The large weekly build came from rather larger jump in crude oil imports to a rate of 9.056 million barrels per day compared to 8.583 million barrels the previous week. The refinery operating rate was up 1.0% to 89.1%, which compared to 86% last year and the five year average of 87.82%.
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