NEW YORK (AP) — The price of oil marched higher Friday after a positive report on U.S. hiring and ongoing concerns that the crisis in Egypt might affect Mideast supplies.
In midday trading, benchmark crude for August delivery was up $1.56 to $102.80 per barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Wednesday, oil closed above at $101.24, the highest level since May 3, 2012. U.S. markets were closed Thursday for Independence Day.
Following the ouster of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi, 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.
In the 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.
At the pump, the national average for a gallon of gas stayed at $3.48 for the third straight day. That’s down 14 cents from a month ago.
Brent crude, which is used to set prices for crude oils used by many U.S. refineries, was up $1.75 to $107.29 per barrel on the ICE exchange in London.
In other energy futures trading on Nymex:
— Wholesale gasoline rose 4 cents to $2.88 per gallon.
— Natural gas fell 11 cents to $3.58 per 1,000 cubic feet.
— Heating oil added 4 cents to $2.99 a gallon.
Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.