RTTNews - Crude oil settled above $65 per barrel for the first time since November on Thursday after a Energy Information report showed a larger-than-expected decline in weekly inventories.

Light sweet crude finished at $65.08 per barrel, up $1.63 on the day. Oil rose as high as $65.44 in afternoon trading.

Crude oil inventories fell by 5.4 million barrels in the week ending May 22. The weekly drop was the third in a row to take stockpiles away from their highest level in nearly two decades. Gasoline inventories decreased by 600,000 barrels last week.

Earlier on Thursday, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries announced it will keep output unchanged, as expected, following a meeting in Vienna on Thursday. The decision to not cut production comes as the ministers see a global economy on the path to recovery.

Earlier in the morning, the EIA reported natural gas stockpiles rose 106 billion cubic feet in the week ended May 22. Experts had been calling for a build of around 110 bcf.

On the day, natural gas prices climbed to $3.94, up about 30 cents on the session.

Gasoline prices averaged $2.449 per regular unleaded gallon, according to the latest AAA fuel gauge report. This is higher than the $2.048 from a month ago but lower than the $3.944 from a year ago.

In economic news, a Commerce Department report showed that durable goods orders jumped 1.9 percent in April following a downwardly revised 2.1 percent decrease in March. Economists had expected orders to edge up 0.5 percent.

Meanwhile, the Department of Labor's weekly report showed initial jobless claims fell to 623,000 for the week ended May 23. This was down 13,000 from a revised mark of 636,000 in the previous week.

Later, a separate Commerce Department report showed new homes sales were up 0.3 percent to an annual rate of 352,000 in April from a revised 351,000 in March. Economists had expected sales to rise to 360,000 from the 356,000 originally reported for the previous month.

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