The price of oil moved up closer to $102 a barrel Friday as markets were optimistic about an upcoming report on U.S. hiring and amid concerns that the Egyptian crisis might affect Mideast supplies, AP reported.
By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude for August delivery was up 54 cents to $101.78 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Nymex floor trading was closed Thursday for the Independence Day holiday.
On Wednesday, the contract gained $1.64 to $101.24, its highest close since early May last year, propelled by political unrest in Egypt and a sharp drop in U.S. oil supplies that could signal stronger demand.
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.
"More than 2 million barrels of crude oil are transported each day through the Suez Canal and the neighboring Sumed pipeline," said analysts at Commerzbank in Frankfurt. "Despite all the concerns about supply outages, there is currently no tightness of supply on the oil market."
Brent crude, which is used to set prices for oils used by many U.S. refineries, was up 39 cents to $106.15 on the ICE exchange in London.