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Suez Canal Traffic Normal Amid Unrest, Operator Says

Jan. 30 (Bloomberg) -- Shipping traffic through the Suez Canal has remained unaffected by protests in Egypt over the past six days, an official with the waterway’s operator said today.

Thirty-eight ships passed through the canal today carrying 1.5 million tons of cargo, Suez Canal Authority spokesman Mahmoud Abdelwahab said in a telephone interview. That compares with 47 vessels that transited the waterway yesterday, he said.

More than 4 million barrels a day of crude oil, or 4.5 percent of global production, are shipped through the canal or a pipeline that runs adjacent to it, according to New York-based McQuilling Services LLC. The world’s longest man-made waterway is the fastest crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Indian Ocean.

Almost a week of violent protests against the rule of President Hosni Mubarak shook financial markets in the Middle East and contributed to a 4.3 percent rise in crude oil Jan 28. Mubarak appointed Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s intelligence chief, as vice president, a sign the man who’s ruled Egypt for three decades may be prepared to hand over power. Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif’s government resigned at Mubarak’s request.

The Suez Canal is a 120-mile (190-kilometer) shipping route that carries about a 10th of world trade.

To contact the reporter on this story: Abdel Latif Wahba in Cairo at alatifwahba@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net

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