Japan to End Release of Strategic Reserves

Japan will end its release of oil reserves to the United States next week.

Japan will end its release of oil reserves to the United States next week, according to a Tuesday news report quoting Toshihiro Nikai, Japan's Economy, Trade and Industry Minister.

Japan has been shipping oil from its reserves under a plan brokered by the International Energy Agency to temper rising prices after Hurricane Katrina struck U.S. oil refineries.

"The impact of hurricane damage on the global oil market has been mitigated," Nikai told reporters for Japan's Kyodo News. "Therefore, we find it appropriate to terminate Japan's oil release on Jan. 4, 2006.

Under the release plan, Japan has kept an emergency stockpile equivalent to 67 days of imports over the coming 30-day period. Japan normally keeps a 70-day minimum. The three-day difference is equal to about 10 million barrels.

The price of crude is 19% below its all-time high of $70.85 on Aug. 30, 2005, one day after Hurricane Katrina made landfall. The price for light, sweet crude for Feb. delivery slipped 82 cents to $57.60 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange in Asian electronic trading mid-morning Tuesday in Singapore.

As reported by the Associated Press.   

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