Japanese stocks fell amid a global equity selloff and after the yen surged to the highest level against the dollar in more than a year, undermining the profit outlook for the nation’s exporters.
The Topix index dropped 2 percent to 1,352.86 as of 9:01 a.m. in Tokyo, as all of its 33 industry groups declined, led by shippers and energy stocks. The Nikkei 225 Stock Average lost 2 percent to 16,667.72. The yen traded at 115.55 per dollar after closing Monday below the key level of 116 for the first time since November 2014. Stocks fell in the U.S. and Europe amid concerns about slowing global growth.
Japan’s currency has strengthened against the dollar despite diverging interest rate policies taken by each nation’s central bank, with the Bank of Japan last month introducing negative interest rates while the Federal Reserve in December raised borrowing costs and signaled more increases this year. Slowing global growth has pared back trader expectations for at least one U.S. rate hike this year to 30 percent, down from 93 percent at the end of 2015.
E-mini futures on the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.3 percent. The underlying equity gauge sank 1.4 percent on Monday as a second straight selloff pushed bank shares to the lowest since 2013 and left the Nasdaq Composite Index approaching a bear market. Equities pared declines in a late-session rebound sparked by gains in energy shares. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index slumped 3.5 percent as Greek shares fell to lowest since 1990.