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Financial 411: Taking Stock of the Economic Damage in Japan

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Scope of Economic Damage in Japan

The rescue operation continues in Japan, as crews search for people stranded by the earthquake and tsunami.  And as attention remains focused on the recovery efforts, the country — the world's third-largest economy — is just beginning to tally the economic damage.

In an attempt to head off another disaster, this time economic, Japan's central bank injected more than $180 billion into the economy to prevent a panic. The Nikkei fell more than six percent, but was otherwise stable.

The country's infrastructure has been severely damaged. There is little or no electricity in many parts of Japan. Roads and railways are damaged, and ports and factories are in ruins.

The combination of physical damage and lack of electricity led Japanese auto makers to halt production at many factories. The question for companies, as well as consumers here in the U.S., is how long will it take for the plants to start-up again before auto dealers in the U.S. run out of particular vehicles, like the hybrid Prius. 

With the news from Japan leading the conversation about the economy, WNYC's Business & Economics Editor Charlie Herman, and the Wall Street Journal's Kelly Evans, author of the daily column "Ahead of the Tape" discuss the latest news. They talk about
how the natural disaster will impact the global economy.

Markets

The damage in Japan pushed U.S. markets down today.  But at the end of trading, they regained most of their losses. The Dow lost 51 points, to close at 11,993. The NASDAQ fell 15 points, finishing up at 2,701.

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