U.S. crude oil prices settled Friday at their highest level since May 2012 amid positive U.S. economic data and concerns that instability in Egypt could lead to supply disruptions.
The Labor Department said about 195,000 jobs were added in June, beating expectations for 165,000 jobs. Results from the two prior months were revised higher by a combined 70,000 jobs, although the unemployment rate remained at 7.6%.
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Meanwhile, the crisis in Egypt has heightened uncertainty this week. On Friday, a state of emergency was declared by Egypt’s army in the provinces of Suez and South Sinai, near the Suez Canal. Reports indicated that shipping through the Suez Canal has so far been unaffected.
Nymex WTI crude reacted by climbing $1.98, or nearly 2%, to $103.22 a barrel, capping off its biggest weekly gain since April.
While Egypt is not an oil producer, the country controls the Suez Canal, one of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.
The canal connects the Mediterranean with the Red Sea and plays a major role in global energy supplies, with about 2.5% of global demand channeled through the Suez Canal.
Nymex WTI crude, which previously closed at a 14-month high Wednesday, is less exposed to Middle East geopolitics compared to Brent crude, which on Friday hit a three-month high of $107.74.