Japan’s Earthquake, Tsunami: What We’re Reading on Economic Impact

BY Elizabeth Shell  March 11, 2011 at 3:37 PM EDT

Making Sense

Editor’s Note: Paul Solman is traveling today but we here at Making Sen$e wanted to share a list of reports we’ve been following on the financial impact of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Though it’s too soon to say what the ultimate economic effect will be, here’s a sampling of what’s been written on this so far.

Varying Reports and Analysis of Market Impact:

Oil Tumbles, Yen Rallies on Japan Quake; Stocks in U.S. Rise from Bloomberg Businessweek:

Oil sank the most in four months, helping halt a slide in global stocks, as Japan’s worst earthquake in at least a century shut refineries. The yen rallied as investors bought the domestic currency as a haven …


Distribution of last-minute newspapers in the unaffected city of Fukuoka informing about the earthquake. Photo and caption by flickr user LuisJouJR.

From MarketWatch, earthquakes rarely shake the stock market:

The stock market appears to be largely shrugging off news this morning of the most powerful earthquake to hit Japan in over 100 years. That surprises many, especially those old timers who remember a nightmare scenario …

From Bloomberg, Roubini Says Earthquake Is ‘Worst Thing’ at Worst Time for Japanese Economy:

Nouriel Roubini, the economist who predicted the global financial crisis, said the earthquake in Japan comes at the “worst time” as the country struggles to lower its budget deficit. “This is certainly the worst thing …”

Quake Aftershocks Could Hit Markets Days Later, from the Wall Street Journal:

If you think Japan’s quake tsunami combo looks bad, just pause for a moment. There may be worse to come. We might just get financial devastation on top of a human and physical disaster. And if history is anything to go by …

Effects on Companies:

Production halted at factories from the BBC:

Production has been halted at many factories in Japan, as companies assess the damage of the earthquake and tsunami on the north-east coast. Sony, Toyota, Nissan and Honda are among firms …

Japanese Firms Assess Effects of Earthquake from the New York Times:

Companies in Japan evacuated and closed plants on Friday as they scrambled in the aftermath of a powerful earthquake and tsunami that struck the northeastern part of the country.

Global Businesses Hit by Japan Earthquake from the Wall Street Journal:

Global companies in industries ranging from cars to technology started trying to assess the impact of the giant earthquake in Japan as operations were disrupted. Truck maker Volvo AB was among those worst hit …

And to find links to economic research on past events check out this Marginal Revolution blog post: Economic Lessons of the Kobe Earthquake, including links to a George Horwich paper, plus papers on the political economy of earthquakes and the economics of tsunamis.

For continued coverage on the disaster in Japan, see the Rundown blog, which is being updated with news, images and video.

This entry is cross-posted on the Making Sen$e page, where correspondent Paul Solman answers your economic and business questions _Follow Paul on Twitter._