The Japanese Yen continues to strengthen against the US dollar as reports indicate that radiation continues to leak from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The situation has worsened to the extent that workers attempting to fix the leaking core and cool the reactor were required to evacuate the area. Rescue efforts around the area have become more complicated, as citizens outside of a 20 KM radius around the nuclear plants are required to remain indoors and seal their doors and windows. The U.S. State Department and other governments have issued a warning against travelling to Japan for their citizens.
After a whopping 11% drop on the Nikkei stock index on Tuesday, the Japanese stock index rose by nearly three and a half percent. World markets were all adversely affected by yesterday's news and the continued uncertainty surrounding this on \going human and economic disaster. Reports of positive economic data in the US did little to alleviate any trader fears that limited industrial output in the world's third largest economy won't have an effect.
On a positive note, the price of crude oil continues to decline despite reports of continued unrest in the Middle East. According to major news outlets, the UAE and Saudi government have supplied military personnel to the kingdom of Bahrain. The Shiite majority in that country are requesting better financial conditions and more freedoms in the small Sunni republic. However, as with all things in the Middle East, religion and tribal identity are often more important that individual identity or personal freedoms.