General Financial News
Crude falls after Japanese quake
Mar 11, 2011 10:23 AM
A massive earthquake slammed the eastern coast of Japan, registering 8.9 on the Richter scale and killing as many as 300 people, according to Japanese authorities.
The quake also badly damaged Japan's infrastructure, tearing up roads and buildings, setting fire to a major refinery in Chiba, near Tokyo and, most dangerously, damaging the nuclear power plant in Fukushima.
Japan declared a nuclear emergency and ordered an evacuation of the area, while the U.S. delivered emergency shipments of coolant using Air Force tankers, Reuters wrote. However, all reports released thus far suggest that no radiation has leaked from the Fukushima Daichi plant.
Combined with relatively mild unrest in the oil-producing regions of Saudi Arabia, the news put pressure on the oil markets. On the IntercontinentalExchange, West Texas Intermediate light, sweet crude oil futures slipped 2.14 percent to $100.54 per barrel.
Brent crude futures dropped 1.2 percent to $114.06 per barrel.
"The earthquake is having a psychological impact on the market in triggering a rise in risk aversion," Carsten Fritsch, a Commerzbank AG analyst, told Bloomberg. "The effect is also physical, in that oil demand from Japan could temporarily be lower."
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