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Hiring, worries about Egypt push up oil prices

NEW YORK — The price of oil marched higher Friday with a positive report on US 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.

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Following the ouster of Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday, his supporters began a series of protests and attacks Friday. 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.

US employers added a robust 195,000 jobs in June and many more in April and May than previously thought.

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.

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