NewsCrude hovers below $101 as Japan boosts imports
AnalysisCrude traded below $101 per barrel today as Japan reduced oil imports following the earthquake and tsunamis that simmered down the rally on prices, while clashes continue in the Middle East.

Crude today hovers around $101 per barrel recording its highest around $101.60 and lowest around $98.65, while currently trading around $99.74 per barrel.

Analysts expect Japan to increase coal, natural gas, diesel and other refined fuel imports, once rebuilding starts, although it seems far ahead since it needs to compensate for the loss of parts of its nuclear power industry following the explosions in two plants. Japan consumes around 4.4 million barrels a day, making it the third largest energy consumer in the world, the temporary shutdown of steel plants, auto manufacturers and three out of five major refineries has dragged crude prices down.

Crude yesterday traded around $101 per barrel recording its highest around $101.82 and lowest around $98.47 per barrel, closing around $101.71 per barrel. Futures slid yesterday due to the drop in oil imports in Japan from the recent devastating quake, as the dollar in return jumped; nevertheless, the tension in the Middle East is still preventing crude from heavy losses and providing an upside bias as the geopolitical pressures spread across the region. 

Traders are eyeing the release of inventory data tomorrow from the US energy department.

As for NYMEX as of 05:31 EST; motor gasoline fell $2.84 recording $287.630 per gallon; heating is trading around $301.320 per gallon declining $1.65; whereas natural gasoline climbed $1.41 to record $3.969. In London, Brent futures dropped $1.81 to record $111.610.