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Oil price rises on strong US employment report and unrest in Egypt

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

NEW YORK, N.Y. - 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 US$1.98, or two per cent, 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 per cent, 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 six cents to finish at $2.90 per gallon.

— Natural gas fell seven cents to end at $3.62 per 1,000 cubic feet.

— Heating oil added four cents to finish at $2.99 a gallon.

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Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.

(TSX:ECA, TSX:IMO, TSX:SU, TSX:HSE, NYSE:BP, NYSE:COP, NYSE:XOM, NYSE:CVX, TSX:CNQ, TSX:TLM, TSX:COS.UN, TSX:CVE)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/the-canadian-press/130705/oil-near-us102-egypt-crisis-ahead-closely-watched-us-jobs-re