Crude-oil futures tumbled in the wake of a massive earthquake in Japan, the world's third-largest oil consumer, but any news of spreading unrest in the Middle East and North Africa could reverse the day's losses, traders said.
Traders were assessing potential outages of refinery capacity and the impact on overall crude demand, as aftershocks from an 8.9-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan earlier in the morning continued to rock the country. Tsunami waves crashed onto Japan's coastline and threatened a number of other countries, Wall Street Journal says.
"The demand for oil (in Japan) could be lower, at least temporarily, because of the earthquake," said Commerzbank analyst Carsten Fritsch.
"After China and the US, Japan is the world's third biggest consumer of commodities and is dependent on imports for virtually all commodities," he added.
A devastating 8.9-magnitude earth quake rocked Japan on Friday, killing at least 40 people, AFP informs.