Tuesday, 08 September 2015 13:25
TOKYO: Tokyo’s benchmark index dropped 2.43 percent Tuesday, wiping out all of its gains since the start of the year, as weak China trade data fuelled fears about the world’s number two economy.
The Nikkei 225 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange lost 433.39 points to finish at 17,427.08. In late June, the index was up nearly 20 percent from its 2014 close.
The broader Topix index of all first-section shares slid 2.00 percent, or 28.94 points, to end 1,416.71, still up slightly on the year.
Tokyo shares opened higher Tuesday, but they quickly fell into negative territory as the latest Chinese figures spooked investors.
“The difficulty for markets is that there doesn’t seem to be an end to the weakness in exports, and that’s the really disappointing thing that should be taken away from these numbers,” Sean Darby, Jefferies Group’s chief global equity strategist in Hong Kong, told Bloomberg News.
“It’s not just China, but also Taiwan, Korea and most of Asia and emerging markets. China gets the focus because it’s the biggest, but in reality, no one is having a very good time out there.”
The announcement prompted investors to flock to the yen, regarded as a safe haven at times of uncertainty, pushing the dollar down 118.91 yen, from 119.34 yen a day earlier.
But the greenback rebounded back above 120 yen in late afternoon trade.
Adding to investor concerns, however, were Japanese GDP figures that showed the economy contracted 0.3 percent in the second quarter.
The data were slightly better than an original estimate of a 0.4 percent fall but any optimism over the numbers fizzled as economists said they were due to an inventory buildup rather than a sign of renewed strength.
“The details were hardly reassuring,” Marcel Thieliant from Capital Economics said in a commentary.
“The upward revision was mostly due to a larger contribution from stock building,” he added.
In share trading, MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings fell 2.62 percent to 3,568 yen after news that it would buy Britain’s Amlin for 3.47 billion pounds ($ 5.3 billion) in an all-cash deal.
Toyota lost 0.55 percent to end at 7,050 yen, market heavyweight Fast Retailing, operator of the Uniqlo chain, dropped 3.20 percent to 45,170 yen, while Sony fell 3.15 percent to 2,867.5 yen.