Nissan’s Ghosn Says Yen ‘Still Far From Neutral’ Value

Nissan Motor Co. Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn, who has called 100 yen to the dollar the “neutral” value for the Japanese currency, said the yen should weaken further.

The yen is “still far from neutral territory,” Ghosn told reporters today in Yokohama, Japan.

Nissan, which gains about 20 billion yen ($216 million) in operating income for every one-yen drop against the dollar, has shifted some production out of Japan because the currency held near its postwar high for the past two years. The yen has weakened by about 13 percent since Nov. 15, when Shinzo Abe, frontrunner at the time to be elected Japan’s Prime Minister, called for “unlimited” monetary stimulus.

Nissan fell 2 percent to 921 yen at the 11:30 a.m. trading break in Tokyo, trimming its gain this year to 14 percent. The benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average is up 11 percent in 2013.

The yen fell 0.6 percent to 92.37 per dollar as of 12:06 p.m. in Tokyo.

Ghosn also said today that demand for Japanese cars in China is “getting there” after declining last year because of anti-Japanese sentiment related to a territorial dispute.

The carmaker’s sales fell 5.3 percent in China, the world’s biggest vehicle market, last year.

Nissan is more affected than other Japanese automakers by a slump in China because it sells about one in four of its vehicles in the country, the largest proportion of sales there among its peers.

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