) -- Stocks in Japan fell 2.8% as the dollar sat at above 89 yen after sinking earlier to nine-month lows.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average in Tokyo declined 289.31 points to 9,976.67. The dollar was at 89.35 yen, after declining to the lower 88-yen range for the first time since December.

Shares of exporters such as automakers


(HMC) - Get Report




declined more than 5%.

A stronger yen reduces the value of overseas profits when repatriated to Japan. Many exporters have based their earnings forecasts on the assumption that $1 buys an average of 95 yen.

Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii early Monday called recent currency movements as not abnormal and reiterated his opposition to intervention in foreign exchange markets.

-- Reported by Joseph Woelfel in New York


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