March 19, 2020 / 7:56 AM / in 18 days

Foreigners net sellers of Japanese stocks last week on coronavirus fears

March 19 (Reuters) - Foreign investors sold Japanese equities in the week ended March 13, marking their fifth straight week of selling, on fears the coronavirus pandemic may lead to a global recession and scupper the Tokyo Olympics.

Overseas investors sold a net 968.43 billion yen ($8.92 billion) worth of local stocks in the week ending March 13, according to data from Japanese stock exchanges.

They sold 289.05 billion yen worth of derivatives last week, and in cash markets, they sold 679.38 billion yen, marking their highest weekly cash markets net selling since at least January 2018.

In the five weeks ended March 13, foreigners have sold a net 4.25 trillion yen worth of Japanese stocks.

The sudden economic stop caused by coronavirus containment measures will cause a global recession this year, ratings agency S&P Global warned on Tuesday.

The pandemic has killed at least 8,925 and infected about 219,000 people globally.

The Nikkei index collapsed about 16% last week and the Topix index plummeted 14.3%, in their worst weekly drop since the 2008 global financial crisis. The indexes have hit a more than three year low this week.

Doubts are mounted around the world over whether the Tokyo Olympics can proceed as planned amid the coronavirus pandemic, with countries in all continents implementing drastic social and travel lockdowns.

Meanwhile, Japanese investors purchased a net 77.7 billion yen worth of overseas equities last week, which marked their third straight weekly net purchase, finance ministry data showed. ($1 = 108.5200 yen)

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel

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