13 Mar 2011

Leaders urge emergency budget for Japan

11:42 am on 13 March 2011

Japanese leaders pushed for an emergency budget to counter economic damage from a powerful earthquake and tsunami that killed hundreds and caused widespread destruction.

The Bank of Japan will cut short a two-day policy review scheduled for next week to one day, on Monday, and promised to do its utmost to ensure financial market stability.

Leaders of the ruling and opposition parties agreed on the need for an extra budget in the wake of the earthquake, which occurred as the world's third-largest economy had been showing signs of reviving from an economic contraction.

Toyota says it will suspend operations at all 12 of its factories on Monday.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange planned to open as normal.

Equity analysts say the total insured loss from the tsunami and earthquake could be up to $US15 billion.

The disaster has sent oil, metals, and grain prices sliding on fears over its possible impact on demand, deepening their biggest decline in months.

However the yen has risen broadly on risk aversion by Japanese investors and expectations of repatriations by Japan's insurance companies.

Energy supplies

Japan has asked Russia to increase energy supplies after a nuclear power station on the country's northeastern coast was damaged in Friday's earthquake and a subsequent explosion.

Russian agencies quoted Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin as saying Russia can increase liquefied natural gas supply by 150,000 tonnes.

Russia's Mechel and SUEK next week will look into possibility of raising coal supply by 3 to 4 million tonnes, Itar Tass agency reported.