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Japanese shares tumble after chip plant fire, car makers hit

TOKYO, March 22 (Reuters) - Japanese shares tumbled on Monday as car makers took a hit after a fire at a plant owned by semiconductor supplier Renesas Electronics fanned worries about more chip supply shortfalls hitting vehicle production.

The Nikkei continued to underperform the broader market, after the Bank of Japan said on Friday it would no longer purchase Nikkei-linked exchange traded funds (ETFs).

The Nikkei share average fell 2.07% to close at 29,174.15, its biggest decline since March 4.

The broader Topix ended its eight-day winning streak, falling 1.09% to close at 1,990.18.

Renesas dropped as much as 4.89% 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, followed by the insurance sector.

Honda Motor dropped 3.63% while Nissan Motor lost 3.7%. Car parts maker Denso shed 4.94% and Toyota Motor fell 3.26%.

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 4.54% while Daikin fell 4.02%.

“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 5.55% on worries about its exposure to collapsed British supply chain finance firm, through its subsidiary in Australia.

Reporting by Hideyuki Sano and Junko Fujita, additional reporting by Fumiya Mizuno; Editing by Devika Syamnath

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