NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- As crude oil prices suffered from the fallout of Japan's massive earthquake, natural gas futures were popping.
Natural gas for April delivery was popping 2.6% to $3.93 per million British thermal units on the New York Mercantile Exchange as the Energy Information Administration reported a drop in gas stockpiles Thursday and coal prices continue to soar. Meanwhile, light sweet crude oil for April delivery was falling 1.6% to $101.10 a barrel on concerns that Japanese oil refiners will be shut down, slackening demand. Japan consumes more than 4.4 million barrels of oil daily, according to the International Energy Agency.
was up 2.4% to $32.86.
Concerns about Chinese fiscal tightening amid surging food price inflation, Libyan rebel activity in the country's oil-rich territories and European leaders' lack of a coherent plan for resolving the region's debt crisis ahead of their next summit on March 24-25 also hit the markets Friday.
But "the funny thing is, natural gas is not reactive to macro factors in that way," said Waverly Advisors strategist Andrew Barber. "Natural gas tends to be very, very local from a production and consumption standpoint." The main drivers behind natural gas are Powder River Basin and Appalachian coal prices, short-term stock levels and weather.
"My thinking is that any of the extreme market reactions should pass because just as we've seen in other tragedies, they do get factored in when certainty returns and the market reverts to fundamentals," said Barber.
As the magnitude of the devastating earthquake in Japan continues to unfold, investors wait to see whether any of the eight related catastrophe bond transactions involving major reinsurers -- and totaling more than $1 billion in value -- have been triggered,
In high-yielding catastrophe bonds, issuers may be forgiven of interest or principal payments to their lenders if the borrowers suffered losses from the catastrophe defined within the terms of the bond agreement. In this case, they look to be facing big losses from the 8.9 magnitude earth quake.
Bond issuers named by
The Japanese yen was surging after the massive, tsunami-inducing earthquake struck Japan, killing hundreds.
It was the biggest earthquake to hit Japan.
The U.S. dollar was sliding 1.3% against the Japanese currency at 81.8960 yen.
CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust
was rising 1.3% to $120.61, while
PowerShares DB US Dollar Index Bearish
was rising 0.5% to $27.82.
-- Written by Andrea Tse in New York.
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