UPDATE: At least 22 killed, 300 injured in the Chabu quake; Nikkei 225 -400 from intraday highs.
It seems Asia-Pac is a hot-bed of activity this evening as both markets and mainland are being buffeted. Despite the 'positive' news of Abe's victory, JPY is strengthening (back below 100) and the Nikkei has given up all its post-Japan-close gains from Friday (down 340 from the US-day-session-close). But more importantly, New Zealand (Wellington) and China (Chabu) have suffered significant earthquakes this evening. There are reports of some damage to buildings and infrastructure in New Zealand after the 6.5 quake (and >4.5 aftershocks). Local news in China claims that a village has been leveled by a strong, shallow 6.6 quake but China Daily notes details remain unclear. We worry that just as in late 2010 (culminating in Japan in March 2011), the tectonic plate movement in Asia-Pac is starting to pick up.
Markets are moving...
and so are tectonic plates...
Via China Daily,
An earthquake with a preliminary reading of magnitude 6.6 jolted an area bordering Min and Zhang counties in Dingxi, Gansu province, at 7.45am on Monday, China Daily reported Monday, citing the China Earthquake Networks Center. The quake's epicenter was 20 kilometers below the surface, and four aftershocks measuring 3.0 to 3.9 magnitude hit the region within half an hour, the report said.
The quake hit near the city of Dingxi in Gansu province, a largely desert and pastureland region with a population of 26 million. That makes it one of China’s more lightly populated provinces, although the area around Dingxi has a greater concentration of farms and towns.
The local people in Minxian county said strong tremor was felt and saw noticeable shake of trees and homes, adding that the quake lasted for about one minute.
Most towns and villages in Minxian county were hit by the earthquake and casualties are reported, but details remain unclear.
An aftershock measuring 5.6 magnitude on the Richter scale hit the area at 9:12.
Via Goldman on New Zealand,
Earlier today (NZT) a large 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck central NZ. This follows a string of smaller earthquakes around the region over the past few days. There are reports of some damage to buildings and infrastructure in Wellington (NZ's capital), although only a small number of injuries. Some roads in the central business district (CBD) have been closed and numerous buildings are being assessed for structural damage.
Civil Defense is requesting that city workers stay out of the central city until at least midday tomorrow. While the full extent of the damage is still being assessed and more is likely to be known over the next 24 hours, it should be emphasized that so far this event is far less damaging and disruptive than the earthquakes that struck the Canterbury region from September 2010.
At this stage our economic forecasts are unchanged.