Japan stocks fell sharply Monday as the dollar sank to nine-month lows against the yen.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average tumbled 241.99 points, or 2.4 percent, to 10,023.99 at the lunchtime break after falling under the 10,000 level at one point in the morning. The broader Topix index retreated 2.3 percent to 901.72.
Investors unloaded exporters like automakers as the dollar fell to the lower 88—yen range for the first time since December. The U.S. currency later recovered slightly and was hovering around the 89—yen line in the early afternoon.
A stronger yen reduces the value of overseas profits when repatriated to Japan. Many exporters have based their earnings forecasts on the assumption that $1 buys an average of 95 yen.
In comments to media early Monday, Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii described recent currency movements as not abnormal and reiterated his opposition to intervention in foreign exchange markets.
Analysts also said exporters themselves are fueling the yen’s rise as they repatriate profits ahead of the end of the fiscal first half.
Shares of Nissan Motor Co. dropped 6.2 percent to 573 yen, while those of Honda Motor Co. declined 5.3 percent to 2,665 yen. Game console maker Nintendo Co. retreated 3.3 percent to 23,230 yen.