Japan's Bond Rating Cut; Oil Prices Surge

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The credit ratings agency Moody's is cutting the outlook for Japan's bond rating from stable to negative. Meanwhile, the surge in oil prices appears linked to the violence in Libya.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

NPR's business news starts with a warning for Japan.

(Soundbite of music)

INSKEEP: Moody's, the credit rating agency, is cutting the outlook for Japan's bond rating from stable to negative. Moody's says Japan's policies may not be sufficient to address what is the highest debt burden among advanced economies.

Today's move comes a few weeks after Standard & Poor's cut Japan's rating for the first time in nine years. The Japanese finance minister has not commented on the latest action.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

There is plenty of talk, though, about the surge in oil prices, which appears linked to the violence in Libya. Today, the chief economist at the International Energy Agency warned that higher oil prices could throw off the global economic recovery. Prices hit highs that haven't been seen since 2008. This morning, they're around $93 a barrel.

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