July crude oil traded fractionally higher during the initial morning hours, as it drafted a measure of support from a weaker US Dollar and modest gains across the commodity market. Some traders indicated that gains in the crude oil may have been limited by reports that wildfires in Canada had receded, which reduces the threat of supply disruptions. Yesterday's EIA inventory report showed a surprise decline in crude stocks, which fell by 15,000 barrels. Current US crude stocks stand 7.626 million barrels above year ago levels and 22.364 million barrels above the five year average. Perhaps some of the unexpected draw was attributed to a 4.4% decline in crude oil imports to average 8.57 million barrels per day. The refinery operating rate was 83.2%, up 1.5% from last week but still down from year ago levels of 87.94%.
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