January crude oil prices traded higher during the overnight and early morning hours, supported by optimism for a European debt resolution this week and signs of an unexpectedly large US inventory draw. Meanwhile, the latest production figures from Saudi Arabia estimated that November oil production was up more than expected and near the highest levels in 30-years. Some traders suggested that this added supply might have been a force that limited early gains. Private industry data late Tuesday afternoon showed a much larger than expected decline in US crude stocks. Expectations for this morning's EIA stats are for US crude oil inventories to have fallen around 1.5 million barrels last week.
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