• Caught in the debt trap?

    Help us help you by taking our second annual Debt survey and you could win R3 000.

  • Rich man, poor man

    Culture change from below is the only way to overcome poverty, says Leopold Scholtz.

  • Tech bubble talk

    After the tech euphoria of 2013, the fast-moving sector has hit a speed bump.

Data provided by McGregor BFA
All data is delayed
See More

Oil around $97 as traders eye Japan

Mar 16 2011 09:37 Sapa

Related Articles

Oil down amid crises in Japan, Mideast

Oil eases on Japan pessimism

Oil down on Japan crisis

Oil holds above $102 on Saudi worries

Oil still high on Mid East fear

Oil futures drop on strong dollar


Singapore - Oil prices hovered around $97 a barrel on Wednesday in Asia after a big loss overnight as Japan struggled to control a damaged nuclear plant and cope with a devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Benchmark crude for April delivery was up 3c at $97.21 a barrel at midday Singapore time in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract dropped $4.01 to settle at $97.18 on Tuesday.

In London, Brent crude was down 2c at $108.32 a barrel on the ICE futures exchange.

Global investors have fled riskier assets after a massive quake and tsunami demolished Japan's northeast coast and killed an estimated 10 000 people. On Wednesday, Japan suspended operations to keep a stricken nuclear plant from melting down after surging radiation made it too dangerous to stay.

There is "a broad based de-risking across most equity and commodity markets in conjunction with the tragic turn of events in Japan," Ritterbusch and Associates said in a report. "Japanese economic uncertainties are bearish for crude."

Unrest in Bahrain and Libya helped support oil prices. Troops and police battled with anti-government protesters in Bahrain on Wednesday while monthlong fighting between government and rebel forces in Libya has cut most of the Opec nation's crude production.

"The market should be more focused on the Middle East," said Ben Westmore, commodities economist with National Australia Bank. "I don't see too much more downside to the oil price from here."

"The price falls we've seen in the last couple of days aren't justified given that events in the Middle East continue to simmer along and threaten global oil supply."

The American Petroleum Institute said late Tuesday that crude inventories rose 91 000 barrels last week while analysts surveyed by Platts, the energy information arm of McGraw-Hill Cos., had forecast an increase of 2.1 million barrels. Inventories of gasoline fell 458 000 barrels and distillates rose 531 000 barrels, the API said.

The Energy Department's Energy Information Administration reports its weekly supply data later on Wednesday.

In other Nymex trading for April contracts, heating oil was down 1.5c at $2.94 a gallon and gasoline dropped 2.9c to $2.80 a gallon.

Natural gas rose 3.1c at $3.97 per 1 000 cubic feet.

japan  |  commodities  |  markets  |  oil


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

We're Talking About: Small Business

Standard Bank is looking for 12 entrepreneurs to participate in a 10-part TV series. They could win a R1m investment into their dream.

Fewer high-risk election areas - Mthethwa

There are fewer high-risk election areas this year compared to past elections, Police Minister Nathi Mthethwa has said while visiting Manenberg in Cape Town.


Latest elections multimedia

Watch what happened when we blindfolded Helen Zille and asked her to eat random things
13 days to elections - news you need to know
11 Julius Malema quotes you'll never forget
DA won't get 30% - Zille

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...