The price of oil marched higher Friday with a positive report on U.S. hiring and ongoing concerns about the crisis in Egypt.
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.
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 Republican Guard headquarters.
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.
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, and 14 cents higher than a year ago.
Brent crude, which is used to set prices for crude oils used by many U.S. refineries, rose $2.18, or 2.1 percent, to end at $107.72 per barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London.
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.