12 Mar 2011

Quake hits oil price

10:31 am on 12 March 2011

The price of oil, metals and grain fell after a massive earthquake and tsunami shook Japan on fears over its impact on demand, deepening their biggest decline in months.

The disastrous 8.9-magnitude quake that has left hundreds of people dead has also shut refineries and other industrial facilities in the world's third-largest oil consumer.

Brent crude futures for April delivery fell $US1.91 to $US113.52.

US crude futures for April delivery fell $US1.54 to settle at $US101.16 a barrel, after earlier falling to $US99.01, Reuters reports.

Metals and other commodities also fell but market analysts say the reports so far out of Japan do not suggest a major economic and financial disaster.

The yen has risen on expectations that Tokyo will need to repatriate funds to pay for repairs.

Japanese shares traded in New York fell sharply. Earlier, Japanese equity futures fell 3.3%.

Asian shares fell after the quake hit, and European shares slumped to closing low for the year, with insurers among the hardest hit, ABC reports.

Tokyo Stock Exchange said it planned to open for trading as normal on Monday.