Egypt may not be among the Middle East’s significant oil producers, but the country’s turmoil has placed upward pressure on oil prices nonetheless.
The most important explanation is the market’s fear that Egypt’s revolution may spread to the rest of the region. But there is also a secondary concern about the security of important transit routes across Egyptian territory.
The Suez Canal is not as important for crude oil supplies as might be thought. According the most recent figures available from the Suez Canal Authority, only 573,000 barrels per day passed through the Canal in 2009, less than half the figure for 2006.