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Yen hits near 38-year low overnight

Employees work at the Tokyo Stock Exchange (TSE), operated by Japan Exchange Group Inc. (JPX), in Tokyo, Japan, on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024.

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Asia-Pacific markets fell on Thursday, as the Japanese yen weakened to a near 38-year low late Wednesday, hitting 160.82 against the U.S. dollar, according to FactSet data.

The yen, which strengthened to trade at 160.42 against the dollar late Thursday afternoon, last breached the 160 level two months ago, prompting the Japanese government to prop it up in the country’s first currency intervention since 2022.

Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki said Thursday that the country was “deeply concerned about FX impact on economy” and would take “necessary” action, Reuters reported.

Japan’s year-on-year retail sales growth for May came in at 3%, higher than the market forecast of 2%, according to a Reuters poll of economists. This compares with a revised 2% growth in April.

China’s industrial profits grew 3.4% year on year from January to May, reaching 2.75 trillion Chinese yuan ($378.41 million), official data showed Thursday. The country’s industrial profit for the first four months of this year had risen by 4.3%.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 declined 0.82% to 39,341.54, while the broad-based Topix lost 0.33% to close at 2,793.7.

Separately, Hong Kong Hang Seng index led losses in the region and was down more than 2% to a near two-month low in its final hour of trade.

Mainland China’s CSI 300 closed 0.75% lower at 3,454.11, hitting a new four-month low.

South Korea’s Kospi closed 0.29% lower at 2,784.06, while the small-cap Kosdaq fell 0.41% to 838.65.

Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 pared earlier losses to lost 0.3% to 7,759.6.

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