Crude oil soared well-above the $50 a barrel on Thursday on improved demand prospects as hopes the G20 summit will help pull the world out of the economic crisis.

Light sweet crude for May delivery rallied to $52.64 per barrel, up $4.25 for the session. Prices touched a high as $52.06 in the opening hour of trading. Prices hit as high as $52.87.

President Obama called the agreements reached by leaders the turning point in our pursuit of global economic recovery. However, the president cautioned that while the reforms agreed to are necessary, they might not be sufficient. In order to ensure that a stable recovery takes hold, the G-20 will meet again in the fall, Obama announced.

Elsewhere on the economic front, Labor Department report showed that initial jobless claims rose to 669,000 from the previous week's revised figure of 657,000. Economists had expected jobless claims to edge down to 650,000 from the 652,000 originally reported for the previous week.

Meanwhile, factory orders jumped 1.8% in February after six straight months of declines. Economists expected a more modest gain of 1.5%.

Wednesday, crude dropped to $48.39, down $1.27, as Energy Information Administration data revealed a build in both crude oil and gasoline stockpiles.

U.S. commercial crude oil inventories increased 2.8 million barrels from the previous week. Experts were looking for a build of about 3 million barrels. Total motor gasoline inventories increased 2.2 million barrels last week. A drop of about 1.5 million barrels was expected.

The AAA daily fuel gauge revealed gasoline prices slipped slightly to $2.045 per regular unleaded gallon. This is above the month-ago mark of $1.933 but well-below last year's level of $3.287.

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