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Egypt Not Likely Big Oil Price Mover: Expert

The political unrest and uncertainty in Egypt are causing economic worries, both in the U.S. and elsewhere. Oil and food prices have moved higher, and there are concerns oil supplies that come through the Suez Canal may be at risk.

But at least one person-in-the-know says events in Egypt probably won't result in significantly higher oil prices in the United States in the long run.

Michael Santoli, associate editor of Barrons, told "Early Show on Saturday Morning" co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis, "We're up around $90 a barrel for oil globally. It was there before the Egypt crisis hit and kind of pulled back, and then rose again.

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"I don't think, unless it really blossoms into a regional crisis where you do have genuine transport issues in terms of the Suez canal, or if it somehow gets to Saudi Arabia, I don't think right now Egypt is going to be the catalyst for any kind of an oil shock here.

"I do think what's interesting, no pun intended, (is the) chicken or the egg question, but food prices globally seem to have been a catalyst for a lot of the unrest over there. And that's something that I think we're going to have to deal with. Emerging markets, especially, are dealing with lots of food inflation right now. And that's something that potentially could have unintended consequences elsewhere.

"And here. And less some here, only because we spend less as a percentage of our overall pocketbook on food than do the emerging markets' households," since their income is far lower than that of people in the U.S.

"Right now," Santoli continued, "it's an issue, and you feel it when you go to the supermarket, but it's not something (in which) we're even back to 2008 levels, for example, of food prices."

On another front, what would happen to stocks if a radical government were to take over in Egypt, which former Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns described as a worst-case scenario to "Saturday Early Show" co-anchor Russ Mitchell?

"I don't necessarily think it's that big an economic event," Santoli replied to Jarvis. "It's obviously a diplomatic and a humanitarian issue before it's an economic one. Egypt, frankly, is just not that big an economy. They're not, let's remember, an oil exporter, a net exporter. So, I do think it's something that we would be concerned about, mostly because of the regional implications. If it really did mean kind of a tide turning away from democracy, or away from stable governments in that region, I do think it would be an issue.

"I don't think that the stock market right now is going to internalize it too much."

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