TOKYO, Jan 24 Japan's Nikkei share average
dropped 1.9 percent to a one-month low on Friday as declines in
emerging market currencies spooked investors and the previous
day's weak China factory survey continued to hurt sentiment.
The Nikkei ended 304.33 points lower to 15,391.56,
the lowest closing level since Dec 17. It was the biggest
one-day fall since Jan. 14. The index dropped 2.2 percent this
week, its third straight weekly decline.
A number of emerging country currencies came under pressure
as many suspect the U.S. Federal Reserve will continue to cut
its massive bond-buying stimulus at next week's policy meeting.
The Turkish lira hit a record low against the
dollar, the South African rand slumped to a 5-1/2 year
trough and the Russian rouble fell to its weakest in
nearly five years. Currencies from Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico
all took a beating as well.
"Everyone was reminded about last May's turmoil when
investors unwound their positions in emerging markets on worries
about Fed's tapering," said Norihiro Fujito, a senior investment
strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities.
The Topix dropped 1.8 percent to 1,264.60.
The JPX-Nikkei Index 400, which started trading
in January, shed 1.8 percent to 11,420.16.