Egypt crisis boosts oil prices

8:10 AM, Jul 3, 2013   |    comments
Egyptian protesters calling for the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi react as they watch his speech on a screen in a street leading to presidential palace in Cairo on July 3, 2013.(Photo: Mahmud Khaled, AFP/Getty)
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Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY

Oil prices pushed closer to $102 a barrel on Wednesday - the highest level in over a year - as embattled Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi vowed not to resign hours before a deadline to yield to the demands of millions of protesters.

The price of crude oil was up about $1.40 to about $101 a barrel after briefly topping $102 a barrel earlier Wednesday The benchmark crude oil contract for August delivery traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange gained $1.61 to close at $99.60 a barrel Tuesday.

Fears of crude oil prices staying at these levels long enough to drive gas prices higher could negatively impact U.S. and global economic growth. Amid political and financial unrest in Egypt and debt-plagued eurozone nations, stock index futures were trading lower ahead of Wednesday's market open in New York.

Egypt's military has drawn up a plan to suspend the Islamist-backed constitution, dissolve the Islamist-dominated legislature and set up an interim administration headed by the country's chief justice if Morsi fails to reach a solution with his opponents by the end of a Wednesday deadline, Egypt's state news agency reported.

Morsi has rejected the ultimatum, and clashes between his supporters and opponents have steadily intensified. Well over a dozen people were killed in a single incident of fighting outside Cairo University on Tuesday night.

Egypt is not an oil producer but its control of the Suez canal, one of the world's busiest shipping lanes which links the Mediterranean with the Red Sea, gives it a crucial role in maintaining global energy supplies.

Oil traders are also awaiting the Energy Department's weekly report on U.S. stockpiles of crude oil on Wednesday and expect the figures to show an increase in demand. Data for the week ending June 28 is expected to show a drawdown of 3 million barrels in crude oil stocks, according to a survey of analysts by Platts.

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