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japanese yen

Japan stock market has started the week with sharp falls, as a surge in the yen hurt shares in big exporting companies.

The Nikkei 225 index ended 3.1% lower at 16,174 – higher than its low point for the trading session, but still the lowest close since April 12.

Photo Wikipedia

Photo Wikipedia

Toyota shares closed down 3.8%, Nissan Motor dropped 5% and Honda Motor shed 4%.

The yen shot up after the Bank of Japan (BOJ) decided not to launch fresh economic stimulus last week.

On April 29, the yen was at about 108 yen against the dollar. It strengthened a little on May 2 to around 106.31 yen.

In South Korea the Kospi ended May 2 session lower, by 0.8% at 1,978.15 points. And that is also a three-week low.

Markets in China and Hong Kong are shut on May 2 for the Labor Day holiday.

Japan’s stock market soared by more than 7% on February 15 as the dollar strengthened against the yen.

Last week, the US dollar fell to a 15-month low against the yen and the Nikkei 225 index lost more than 11%.

On February 15, however, the dollar rose to 113.95 yen from 113.25 yen on February 12 in New York.

The bounce for the Tokyo market came despite official figures showing Japan’s economy had contracted by 0.4% in the three months to December.Japan stock market February 2016

The worse than expected quarter-on-quarter figures did not stop the Nikkei 225 closing 7.2% higher at 16,022.5 points – its biggest daily percentage gain since late 2008.

Last week, Japan’s markets traded sharply lower as a stronger yen against the dollar hurt the country’s big exporters.

On February 12, the Nikkei index closed down 4.8% to 14,952.6 points – below the 15,000 points level and its lowest close since October 2014.

However, a retreat of the yen on February 15 sent shares in the country’s big exporters sharply higher.

Toyota finished the trading day in Tokyo up more than 9.5%, Honda gained 8% and Nissan rose 6.7%. Sharp and Sony gained just over 7% and 8% respectively.

Analysts said the yen could continue to weaken this year, which would be good for exporters.

Elsewhere, markets in China were divided despite worse-than-expected trade numbers.

On the mainland, where markets were open after a week off for Lunar New Year celebrations, the Shanghai Composite closed down 0.6% at 2,746.2.

In Hong Kong, however, the Hang Seng jumped 3% to 18,874.5 points after finishing lower on February 11 and 12.

Trade numbers released on February 15 showed China’s exports in yuan terms fell 6.6% in January from a year earlier, while imports dropped 14.4%.

In US dollar terms, exports fell 11.2% from a year earlier and imports fell 18.8%, marking the seventh and 15th month of straight declines respectively.

The numbers mean the country was left with a record trade surplus of $63.3 billion for the month, compared to $60.9 billion in December.

Analysts said the January trade data was a reflection of slower external demand – particularly from trading partners like South Korea.

In Australia, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 finished up 1.6% to 4,843.5 points, while South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index closed up 1.5% to 1,862.2 points.

Japan’s shares plunged on February 12, following global markets, after a stronger yen against the dollar hurt the country’s big exporters.

Nikkei 225 fell as much as 5.4% in early trade. By the close, the benchmark index had recovered slightly, but was still down 4.85% to 14,952.61 points.

That was below the psychologically important level of 15,000 points and its lowest close since October 2014.

Today’s losses end what has been a turbulent week of trade for Japan.

The index has shed more than 11% over the trading week, which was short because of a public holiday on February 11.Japan stock market February 2016

Japan’s big exporters were hurt on February 12 as the dollar fell to a 15-month low against the yen. A stronger yen against the dollar hurts Japan’s exporters, as it makes their products more expensive to purchase overseas.

Auto maker Toyota finished Japan’s trading day down 7%, while Honda lost 5.5% and Nissan shed 5.8%.

Overnight, benchmark indexes in London, the US and Europe posted sharp declines amid continued worries about oil prices and over the strength of the global economy – particularly the outlook for the world’s largest economy, the US.

US Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s gloomy economic assessment on February 10 was continuing to hurt investor sentiment around the world, analysts said.

Janet Yellen said financial conditions in the US had become “less supportive” of growth, dousing hopes of a second rise in interest rates in the near future.

Japan’s stock market fell on September 18 as the yen strengthened against the dollar in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s decision not to raise interest rates.

The Nikkei 225 index closed down 2% at 18,070.21. The dollar fell against the yen following the Fed’s decision to keep its interest rates unchanged, which hit shares in Japanese exporters.

Shares in Toyota and Honda dropped 1.4%, while Panasonic was 2.1% lower.

A stronger yen against the dollar affects exporters, as it makes their goods more expensive to sell overseas.

The Fed’s decision to hold interest rates also renewed concerns about the strength of the global economy.

Photo WSJ

Photo WSJ

The US central bank said worries over the global economy, particularly China, had influenced its decision not to raise rates.

US shares saw choppy trade after the decision, with both the Dow Jones and S&P 500 closing lower.

Chinese shares were mixed after government data showed that property prices had shown some signs of recovery.

New home prices rose for a fourth consecutive month in August, up 0.3% from the previous month, but were down 2.3% from a year ago.

The property sector accounts for 15% of China’s economic growth, so even minimal gains have a positive impact on the world’s second largest economy.

The Shanghai Composite index ended 0.4% higher at 3,097.92, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index closed up 0.3% at 21,920.83.

In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index erased earlier losses to end up 0.6% at 5,178.50.

South Korea’s benchmark Kospi index finished 1% higher at 1,995.95.

Japan’s stock market fell as much as 3% on September 4, touching a seven-month low, as the yen strengthened against the dollar ahead of much-anticipated job numbers from the US due later.

Japan’s Nikkei share index eventually closed down 2.15% at 17,792.16.

The dollar was buying 119.10 yen in afternoon trade, its weakest point since late last month.

A stronger yen is not good for Japanese exporters as it makes their goods more expensive to buy overseas.

Photo Reuters

Photo Reuters

Among big exporters, shares in Toyota dropped 2.5% while Panasonic fell 4%.

Analysts said the yen has strengthened because investors were looking to put their money into safer assets.

Other Asian shares headed lower for much of the day, despite stocks on September 3 getting a boost from the European Central Bank’s (ECB) hints about extending its stimulus program.

The ECB cut its growth and inflation forecasts on September 3, paving the way for an expansion to its asset-buying plan.

South Korea’s Kospi closed down 1.5% at 1,887.61, while in Australia the S&P/ASX 200 closed up 0.25% at 5,040.60.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng index closed down 0.45% at 20,840.61, while China’s mainland markets were closed for a holiday to commemorate the end of World War Two.

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Toyota has seen its profits nearly double, boosted by the Japanese yen’s weakness and cost cutting.

The carmaker made a net profit of 1.82 trillion yen ($17.8 billion) in the year to March 31, up from 962 billion yen a year ago.

Toyota has seen its profits nearly double, boosted by the Japanese yen's weakness and cost cutting

Toyota has seen its profits nearly double, boosted by the Japanese yen’s weakness and cost cutting

But that was lower than its February forecast of 1.9 trillion yen profit.

Japanese companies, especially those relying on exports, have benefited from the weakness in the yen which helps lift their profits when they repatriate their overseas earnings back home.

The Japanese yen has weakened by nearly 18% against the US dollar since the start of 2013 amid aggressive policy measures by the government.

Toyota, the world’s biggest carmaker, said the yen’s weakness boosted its profits by nearly 900bn yen during the past financial year.

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Toyota has announced it is expecting record annual earnings for 2013 as the weaker Japanese yen helps to boost sales abroad.

For the financial year ending March, it expects operating profit to reach 2.4 trillion Japanese yen ($23.7 billion).

The ongoing weakness in the yen also helped Toyota post better-than-expected earnings for the third quarter, with operating profit of 600 billion yen.

That is nearly five times higher than earnings in the same quarter one year ago.

Toyota has announced it is expecting record annual earnings for 2013 as the weaker Japanese yen helps to boost sales abroad

Toyota has announced it is expecting record annual earnings for 2013 as the weaker Japanese yen helps to boost sales abroad

Toyota said in a statement that its revised forecast is due to “progress in our recent profit improvement activities through cost reduction and marketing efforts, in addition to the change in our assumption of foreign exchange rates to reflect the depreciation of the yen.”

The Japanese currency has fallen by around 9% against the US dollar this year.

Toyota sold 9.98 million vehicles during 2013. That’s 270,000 more than its closest rival – US car giant General Motors.

Sales figures helped Toyota retain its position as the world’s largest carmaker by sales for two straight years.

Most Asian markets have fallen again as investors continue to react to news that the Federal Reserve could begin to scale back its stimulus programme.

South Korea’s main index dropped 1.5% while Australia’s lost 0.4%. However, Japan’s Nikkei reversed early losses.

The indexes in Shanghai and Hong Kong were down more than 2% in early trade but pared losses.

On Thursday in the US, the Dow Jones share index fell 2.3% – its biggest drop this year.

The Fed has been trying to support the weak US economy by buying bonds at a rate of $85 billion a month, under a policy known as quantitative easing (QE).

However, on Wednesday, Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said that if the US economy continued to show sign of improvement the central bank could start to slow down its bond purchases as early as this year and end the programme next year.

Most Asian markets have fallen again as investors continue to react to news that the Federal Reserve could begin to scale back its stimulus programme

Most Asian markets have fallen again as investors continue to react to news that the Federal Reserve could begin to scale back its stimulus programme

The excess liquidity in the US has meant a lot of funds have been flowing into emerging markets, especially in Asia.

“Asia has benefited from US capital inflows, partly in relation to QE,” said Mitul Kotecha, from Credit Agricole CIB.

“It has been force-fed with steroids, and now that the steroids are going to be pulled back what will happen is a period of transitional volatility that can continue through summer.”

Currencies in Asia were weak as well against the US dollar, however the weakness in the Japanese yen caused a big reversal in the Nikkei in late trade.

The Nikkei, which had sank more than 2% during the morning trading session, finished 1.7% higher.

A weak yen is good news for Japanese exporters as it makes their goods cheaper overseas and boosts profits that are repatriated back home.

Exporters led the gains with Suzuki Motor jumping nearly 4% and Fast Retailing surging more than 6%.

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Asian markets have dropped in early trading after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon finishing line killing three people and injuring dozens more.

Stock indexes fell by as much as 2% in Japan. South Korea and Australia also dropped, as did oil and gold prices.

Earlier on Monday, US markets closed lower after the blasts accelerated a sell-off started by weak economic data.

Analysts said that investors would be more risk averse in coming sessions and would focus on Asia’s problem areas.

“This is a kind of unknown-unknown event and a stark reminder that the world continues to remain unsafe,” said Vishnu Varathan of Japanese bank Mizhuo.

“While it has happened far away from Asia, it is likely to trigger concerns and fears over Asia’s known-unknowns.

“You have the Korean peninsula tensions, the territorial dispute between China and Japan, and other issues in the China Sea which all pose risks if they flare up,” he added.

Asian markets have dropped in early trading after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon finishing line killing three people and injuring dozens more

Asian markets have dropped in early trading after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon finishing line killing three people and injuring dozens more

Faced with these problems, investors reacted to the news of the blasts by trying to cut risks, not least because in recent weeks stock markets in Asia have seen strong gains.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index was recently trading 1% lower, while South Korea’s Kospi was down 0.9% and Australia’s ASX 200 shed 0.8%.

In the US, all three of the country’s main stock indexes closed lower on Monday. The Dow Jones ended the day down 1.8%, while the S&P shut 2.3% lower and the Nasdaq shed 2.4%.

Oil prices dropped in Asia, with US light crude down by 1.9%, and Brent crude sliding 1.6%. Gold continued to fall, extending Monday’s 10% fall and continuing to hit its lowest levels in two years.

By contrast, the Japanese yen gained against the US dollar because many investors see it as a less risky asset.

“The developments in Boston are likely to trigger an initial reaction of caution,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.

The Japanese currency rose as much as 2.5% to 96.61 yen against the US dollar in New York on Monday. It also gained nearly 3% against the euro, rising as high as 125.98 yen against the single European currency.

Analysts said that many large Japanese banks or pension funds tended to sell riskier assets during times of uncertainty, bringing the money back into the country, resulting in an appreciation in the yen’s value.

Knowing this, other global investors also buy the yen, or yen-denominated assets, to benefit from this gain. However, once the risks recede, then investors tended to sell their yen and use the proceeds to again invest in riskier assets.

Analysts said the blasts had further dented investor morale in both Asia and elsewhere, which had already been shaken by weaker-than-expected Chinese and US data.

They also pointed to a number of potential Asian flashpoints that caused investors to be cautious, such as the heightened tensions on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea has recently conducted a nuclear test, and in recent weeks it has also threatened to attack South Korea, Japan and US bases in the region.

Meanwhile, the spat between China and Japan over a set of disputed islands in the East China Sea has flared up. The issue is yet to be resolved and continues to remain a bone of contention between Asia’s two biggest economies.

Analysts have often have warned that an escalation of any of these issues was likely to hurt the region’s economic growth.

“Asia is increasingly relying on intra-regional trade to sustain its economic growth,” said Vishnu Varathan of Mizhuo.

“Any full-blown conflict between Asian nations will hurt trade and could adversely impact economic growth.”

The Japanese yen has reached its lowest level since 2008 against the US dollar after the central bank began the latest round of its stimulus programme.

The yen fell as low as 98.85 against the dollar, before rebounding slightly.

Investors said the Bank of Japan’s plan to buy assets worth trillions of yen, which has government backing, would continue to weaken the currency.

As a result, the yen may break through the 100 mark against the dollar as early as this week.

The Japanese yen has reached its lowest level since 2008 against the US dollar after the central bank began the latest round of its stimulus programme

The Japanese yen has reached its lowest level since 2008 against the US dollar after the central bank began the latest round of its stimulus programme

“This has really shaken up many people’s attitudes toward the Bank of Japan and the new government,” said Andrew Wilkinson, chief economic strategist at Miller Tabak and Co in New York.

“It feels like it’s gathered a whole new momentum behind it, as the doubters have joined the bandwagon and it’s becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

Last week, the BOJ said it would double the supply of the currency in the market.

The central bank added that it would be much more aggressive in pursuing a 2% inflation target to boost growth.

A weak yen helps Japanese exporters keep their products competitive, as well as boosting profits earned overseas.

On Monday, exporters helped push the main Nikkei 225 stock index 3.1% higher, before the gains were pared back in later trading.

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Japan’s stock market has reached its highest level since 2008, after a recent central bank stimulus plan raised hope of economic revival.

The main Nikkei 225 stock index climbed as much as 4.7% to 13,225.62, its highest since August 2008.

The Bank of Japan (BOJ) said on Thursday it would double the country’s money supply to spur growth and halt falling prices.

The step was much bigger than expected and signaled a more aggressive approach towards driving growth.

Analysts said that BOJ moves had got the attention of investors both at home and abroad.

Japan's stock market has reached its highest level since 2008, after a recent central bank stimulus plan raised hope of economic revival

Japan’s stock market has reached its highest level since 2008, after a recent central bank stimulus plan raised hope of economic revival

“Many investors who were not even interested in Japan before have opened their eyes,” said Tetsuro Ii, chief executive of Commons Asset Management.

“They realized that if they continue to look at Japan the way they did before, they are going to lose.”

By pumping more money into the system, Japan is hoping to promote price growth, ending a cycle of deflation, recession and sputtering economic recovery.

At the same time, it is also seen as an attempt to weaken its currency and boost exports.

The Japanese yen has declined 4.5% against the US dollar in the past two days, and more than 5% against the euro.

Analysts said the yen was likely to remain weak in the coming months.

“The big party we are having in the markets now is, of course, the financials. Banks are getting more money for free, utilities with big investment projects are getting zero cost capital now,” said Martin Schulz from Fujitsu Research Institute.

“The big story, and the lasting story, will be the exporters. A weaker yen helps the exporters to earn money with Japanese technology in Asian markets in particular.”

On Thursday, the BOJ embarked on what some are calling a new era of monetary easing.

It will increase its purchase of government bonds by 50tn yen ($520bn; £350bn) annually, the equivalent of almost 10% of Japan’s gross domestic product, or total economic output.

BOJ governor Haruhiko Kuroda defended the size of the stimulus saying the government’s inflation target of 2% would remain out of reach if the central bank continued its incremental steps.

Haruhiko Kuroda said he would “do whatever it takes” to drive growth.

However, analysts say Japan’s new direction is likely to provoke a reaction from their main competitors.

The BOJ’s moves to buy additional bonds is an attempt to keep long-term interest rates low.

The bank hopes that pumping money into the system will make borrowing cheap and encourage consumers and businesses to spend.

The central bank has also said that it would buy riskier assets such as exchange-traded funds and real estate trust funds.

While such moves may help halt years of falling prices, some analysts have warned that there is a risk that so much liquidity in the markets may trigger an artificial rise in asset prices.

“We think there is a risk of a bubble,” said Hiroshi Shiraishi, senior economist at BNP Paribas Securities.

“If these types of asset purchases are going to work, then they work by distorting asset markets.”

However, on Friday Haruhiko Kuroda sought to allay those fears, saying the bank will keep a close eye on the markets.

“I don’t think there’s a bond or stock market bubble now and I don’t see one emerging any time soon,” he told Japan’s lower house of parliament.

“But we will be vigilant of the risk.”

Japanese shares have risen after finance ministers of the G20 group of nations avoided singling out Japan for criticism over the recent yen weakness.

The yen has dipped nearly 15% against the US dollar since November amid Japan’s efforts to stoke inflation.

There were concerns that a criticism from G20 may prompt Japan to alter its aggressive stance. The fears were that it would result in the yen rising again and hurt Japan’s plans to spur growth.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 index rose 2%.

Meanwhile, the Japanese currency continued to weaken. It fell 0.6% to 94.12 yen against the US dollar.

It also dipped 0.5% to 125.50 yen against the euro in early Asian trade.

“At the G20 meeting, there wasn’t as much criticism from emerging countries about the recent yen’s weakness as feared. That spurred yen selling,” said Kyoya Okazawa, head of global equities at BNP Paribas.

Japanese shares have risen after finance ministers of the G20 group of nations avoided singling out Japan for criticism over the recent yen weakness

Japanese shares have risen after finance ministers of the G20 group of nations avoided singling out Japan for criticism over the recent yen weakness

Analysts say the G20 communiqué at the end of its meeting in Moscow on Saturday was an endorsement for Japan’s recent monetary moves.

The policies have seen Japan’s central bank, the Bank of Japan, double its inflation target to 2% in attempt to spur domestic consumption.

The central bank has also expanded a key stimulus measure aimed at keeping long term interest rates low.

Analysts say that as Japan continues to pursue these policies, the yen is likely to weaken further.

“With Japan, as yet, using various measures to ease monetary conditions domestically, we do not expect a large international backlash against its efforts and look for the Japanese yen to continue to decline gradually as the easier monetary conditions feed through,” Barclays Capital said in a note.

A weak yen bodes well for the Japanese exporters and its economy on various fronts.

To begin with, it makes their goods more affordable to foreign buyers. It also helps boost the exporters’ profits when they repatriate their foreign earnings back home.

And as firms see their profits rise, they are likely to have a bigger cash pile to invest in research and development or expansion of their facilities.

Investment in research helps the firms become more competitive as they develop new products. Meanwhile, increased capital investment helps boost Japan’s overall economic growth.