NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil marched higher Friday with a positive report on U.S. hiring and ongoing concerns about the crisis in Egypt.
U.S. benchmark crude for August delivery rose $1.98, or 2 percent, to finish at $103.22 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. That’s the highest closing price since May 2, 2012.
Brent crude, a benchmark for many international oil varieties, rose $2.18, or 2.1 percent, to end at $107.72 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
Following the ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday, his supporters began a series of protests and attacks Friday. The military opened fire as hundreds of protesters marched on a headquarters of the Republican Guard
Egypt is not an oil producer, but its control of the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes, gives it a crucial role in maintaining global energy supplies.
For now supplies are moving freely through the canal.
U.S. employers added a robust 195,000 jobs in June and many more in April and May than previously thought. The job growth suggests a stronger economy and makes it more likely the Federal Reserve will slow its bond purchases before year’s end.
Those bond purchases have supported the economy by helping keep long-term interest rates low. That in turn has given a boost to investments such as stocks and oil.
In other energy futures trading on the Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline rose 6 cents to finish at $2.90 per gallon.
— Natural gas fell 7 cents to end at $3.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil added 4 cents to finish at $2.99 a gallon.
Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.