Tepco has reconnected power to six of its dying reactors, which now have access to cooling measures. Smoke was reported near reactor number three and there are indications of high radiation levels in food and water near the plant. Any food shortages will most likely force global food prices higher, something already crippling emerging market economies. Food Price Watch said that the World Bank's food price index grew "15% between October 2010 and January 2011 and is only 3% below its 2008 peak."
Any hints of inflation are typically good for gold prices as investors buy the hard asset as paper money becomes worth less. The real inflation worriers would have already bought gold as world governments staved off disaster by pumping money into the system in 2008/2009. But for traders and investors who missed that trade, they might be more apt to jump in. Xinhua News Agency, China's state run newspaper, said Monday that the worry that inflation would be one of the biggest risks "facing the world economy ... has become a reality."