Oil prices were little changed Tuesday as investors waited to see the outcome of the largest protest yet against Egypt's government in the streets of Cairo.
As protesters demanded that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leave office, one key oil price contract remained above $100. Prices have jumped over the past week amid concerns that the turmoil in Egypt could shut the Suez Canal, a major route for oil tankers to Europe and North America, and even spread to neighboring oil-rich countries.
The price of Brent crude rose 28 cents $101.29 a barrel on the ICE Futures exchange in London. Brent is used to price oil in Asia, where demand is growing fast, and in Europe, where a cold winter is leading to high demand for heating oil. On Monday, Brent surpassed $100 for the first time since October 2008 and traded as high as $101.73.
The price of U.S. benchmark West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, fell 49 cents to $91.70 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The price jumped 8 percent over the previous two sessions.
More than a quarter-million people flooded Cairo's main square Tuesday in the latest -- and largest -- protest during a week of unrelenting demands for Mubarak's resignation after nearly 30 years in power. Similar demonstrations took place in five other cities around Egypt.
Pablo Gorondi in Budapest contributed to this report.