Japan shares tumble as fire at chip factory hits Renesas, carmakers

TOKYO, March 22 (Reuters) – Carmakers led declines in Japanese shares on Monday after a fire at semiconductor supplier Renesas Electronics’ plant fanned worries about more chip supply shortfalls hitting vehicle production.

The Nikkei continued to underperform the broader market, after the Bank of Japan on Friday decided to exclude Nikkei-linked exchange traded funds (ETFs) from its purchase.

The Nikkei share average fell 1.84% to 29,239.92, testing a major support from its 50-day moving average at around 29,108.

On course to snap a nine-day winning streak, the broader Topix lost 1.19% to 1,988.26, slipping from its 30-year peak hit on Friday.

Renesas dropped as much as 5.5% after the key automotive semiconductor supplier said production at its fire-damaged plant will take at least a month to restart, and carmakers will start to feel a supply pinch in about a month.

The transport equipment index was the biggest drag in the market.

Honda Motor dropped 3.2% while Nissan Motor lost 2.8%. Car parts maker Denso shed 4.5% and Toyota Motor declined 2.4%.

The shares that have big weightings in the Nikkei average continued to reel from the Bank of Japan’s decision to buy only Topix-linked ETFs.

Fast Retailing dropped 3.2% while Fanuc lost 3.1%.

“Today we have had a confluence of negative factors such as a fire at Renesas factory and the market confusion after the BOJ’s move. But fundamentally, the market is likely going through a correction on worries about rising U.S. bond yields,” said Shinichi Ichikawa, senior fellow at Pictet Asset Management.

Tokio Marine fell 4.6% on worries about its exposure to collapsed British supply chain finance firm, through its subsidiary in Australia.

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