NEW YORK, May 23 (Xinhua) -- Oil prices rose Friday as U.S. April new home sales surpassed market consensus.
U.S. sales of new single-family houses in April stood at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 433,000, 6.4 percent above the revised March rate of 407,000, the Commerce Department reported Friday. The reading easily beat market expectation.
Crude prices moved higher also as U.S. crude inventories unexpectedly dropped last week.
Crude stockpiles decreased 7.2 million barrels to 391.3 million in the week ended May 16, according to the Energy Information Administration (EIA). Markets expected the crude inventories to rise 250,000 barrels. Stockpiles at Cushing, Oklahoma, the delivery point for WTI, fell by 225,000 barrels to 23.2 million, the least since December 2008.
U.S. crude production increased 6,000 barrels a day to 8.43 million, the most since October 1986, according to the EIA.
The uncertainties of Ukraine put a big threat to the oil market. An attack Thursday by pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine left 16 servicemen dead.
Light, sweet crude for July delivery moved up 61 cents to settle at 104.35 U.S. dollars a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, while Brent crude for July delivery gained 18 cents to close at 110.54 dollars a barrel.