22 July 2005, 11:48  Tokyo shares close lower, led by exporters on firmer yen

Share prices closed lower, led by declines among automakers and other exporters, as the yen appreciated strongly in the wake of Beijing's decision to end its decade old yuan/dollar peg and to adopt a managed float against a basket of non-US currencies, brokers said. The action taken by the People's Bank of China late yesterday saw a mild 2 pct upward revaluation of the yuan against the greenback. "Stocks here fell across the board, with blue chip exporters, including technology companies, seen hit by the firmer yen. This is obviously due to China's decision to raise the yuan's value," said Masayoshi Yano, senior strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Center. "However, investors may realize eventually that this won't hit Japanese exporters that seriously, as many based their earnings forecasts for the year to next March on an average exchange rate of around 105 yen to the dollar. The current dollar rate is far above that level," he said. The blue-chip Nikkei 225 Stock Average closed down 91.68 points or 0.8 pct at 11,695.05. The broader-based TOPIX index of all First Section issues fell 8.00 points or 0.7 pct to 1,186.76. Decliners overwhelmed gainers by a ratio of more than three to one, or 1,153 to 344 with 165 issues unchanged. Trading volume totalled 1.33 bln shares, down from 1.60 bln yesterday. After China ended the decade-old peg of its currency to the dollar and adopted a managed float against a basket of currencies, the yen surged to 109.87 against the US dollar in New York trade overnight, compared to 112.36 yen in late Tokyo trade yesterday.

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