Commodity Corner: Oil Flirts with $90
The price of crude oil for March delivery surged 4.8 percent Friday before settling at $89.34 a barrel.
As investors paid attention to the unrest in Egypt, where embattled President Hosni Mubarak deployed troops to quell protests in the cities of Alexandria, Cairo, and Suez, speculation that other uprisings would erupt or escalate in other oil-producing countries in the region drove oil to an intraday high of $89.73. The Suez Canal, a vital passageway for oil tankers to reach Western markets, lies entirely within Egypt's borders. Concerns that the unrest could result in the canal's closure contributed to Friday's price surge.
Oil bottomed out at $85.11 Friday. Compared to Monday's settlement of $87.87, the commodity is up 1.7 percent for the week.
The volatile situation in North Africa and the Middle East also placed upward pressure on gasoline prices Friday. February gasoline increased eight cents to settle at $2.46 a gallon.
Gasoline fluctuated from $2.39 to $2.46 Friday, and it is up 2.1 percent for the week.
Natural gas for March delivery remained unchanged at $4.32 per thousand cubic feet. It traded from $4.25 to $4.37. The March contract slipped 6.1 percent during the week.