| GEO Business|
Shares mixed, oil up as Egypt tensions rise
| Updated at: 1034 PST, Friday, February 11, 2011|
HONG KONG: Asian shares were mixed on Friday in edgy trade and oil surged amid rising tensions in Egypt after President Hosni Mubarak enraged protesters by saying he would not step down.
Hong Kong was 0.22 percent higher after losing almost two percent on Thursday while Shanghai extended the previous session's gains and rose 0.35 percent. Seoul gained 0.22 percent.
Sydney shed 0.35 percent after seven straight days of gains, while Singapore was 0.35 percent off. Tokyo's Nikkei was closed for a public holiday.
Global markets are keeping an eye on events in Egypt amid concerns the violence could spill over to the rest of the already volatile Middle East.
The crisis in Egypt took a fresh turn on Thursday when Mubarak called a news conference amid speculation he was about to resign, lifting hopes of an to protests that have gripped the country for more than three weeks. However, he said in the televised announcement that he would not leave office until after September elections, instead delegating some powers to his vice president and enraging demonstrators.
More than 200,000 protesters massed in central Tahrir Square, vowing to stage their most spectacular demonstration yet on Friday, sparking fears of violence in Cairo.
Oil prices, which had eased slightly at the start of the week on hopes the protests were subsiding, jumped back on Friday. Brent North Sea crude for delivery in March gained 69 cents to $101.56 on the contract's last trading day.
New York's main contract, light sweet crude for March delivery, soared 83 cents to $87.56 per barrel.
While Egypt is not a major crude producer traders fears a conflict in Egypt could disrupt supplies passing through the Suez Canal, which carries about 2.4 million barrels of oil daily, roughly equal to the output of Iraq or Brazil.(AFP)