(Bloomberg) -- Japan’s fuel imports have hit the highest level in more than two decades after series of incidents including an earthquake and a refinery fire curbed production at some of the nation’s processors.Overseas purchases of so-called petroleum spirits -- a category that includes gasoline and naphtha -- surged to more than 3 million kiloliters in March, the most since August 2000, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Finance. Imports were also about 19% higher than a month earlier.The magnitude 7.3 earthquake struck off Fukushima in mid-February, leading to shutdowns at a number of refineries, although some were able to restart in a matter of days. ENEOS Holdings Inc., however, only resumed operations at the sole crude unit at its Sendai refinery in northern Japan last week, while a start-up of its Chiba plant has been delayed to later this month.See also: Japan Assesses Damage After Earthquake Struck Near FukushimaAdding to the squeeze on fuel production was the shuttering of the ENEOS-owned Wakayama refinery in western Japan late last month after a fire. The plant remains closed with no scheduled restart date.Japan’s imports of crude oil in March, meanwhile, fell 17% from a year earlier to about 12 million kiloliters, according to ministry data. The nation’s refiners conduct planned maintenance during spring, typically between March and May.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) -Oil prices fell for a second day on Wednesday, weighed down by concerns that surging COVID-19 cases in India will drive down fuel demand in the world's third-biggest oil importer. Brent crude futures for June fell 48 cents, or 0.7%, to $66.09 a barrel at 0515 GMT, after dropping 48 cents on Tuesday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures for June fell 52 cents, or 0.8%, to $62.15 a barrel.
Asian shares and U.S. stock futures fell on Wednesday as concern about a resurgence of coronavirus cases in some countries cast doubt on the strength of global growth and demand for crude oil. Stocks in Tokyo slumped by 1.79% due the growing likelihood that Tokyo, Osaka and surrounding areas will be put on lockdown due to a new wave of coronavirus infections. S&P 500 e-mini stock futures also fell 0.18%.