Commodity Corner: Oil Rises 3.2% on Egypt Fears

As unrest in Egypt continued Monday and observers weighed the possible political and economic outcomes of the crisis, crude oil for March delivery surged to its highest point in more than two years.

Crude oil gained $2.85 to settle at $92.19 a barrel. One major concern emanating from the situation in Egypt is that additional uprisings will occur in neighboring countries in the oil-producing region. Another fear is that a deteriorating security situation would lead to a disruption of oil tanker traffic passing through the Suez Canal. On Monday, however, Dow Jones Newswires reported that an official with the Suez Canal Authority confirmed that operations were normal.

Oil peaked at $92.84 and bottomed out at $88.40.

March natural gas also ended the day higher, settling at $4.42 per thousand cubic feet. The 10-cent gain Monday stems from expected additional energy usage in the Midwest and Northeast as a large, powerful winter storm targets those regions. In fact, some forecasters have said that the storm could shatter records. Natural gas traded within a range from $4.29 to $4.46.

Front-month gasoline gained three cents to settle at $2.49 a gallon Monday. February gasoline fluctuated from $2.435 to $2.50 during the day's trading.