People visiting a foreign exchange office in Tokyo on Friday. Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso pledged on Friday that Tokyo is ready to adopt strong measures to address wild volatility on financial markets driven by Brexit fears.
People visiting a foreign exchange office in Tokyo on Friday. Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso pledged on Friday that Tokyo is ready to adopt strong measures to address wild volatility on financial markets driven by Brexit fears. - 
Listen To The Story
Marketplace

As it became clear overnight that Britain will be leaving the European Union, markets in Asia were the first to react. In Seoul, markets tumbled nearly 4 percent. The stock markets of Hong Kong and Shanghai were down. 

And in Japan, the Nikkei was down 8 percent. Stocks in the country suffered their worst day in five years.

At the start of the day, the yen was trading at 106 to the dollar — that dropped to 99 to the dollar as global investors sought a safe haven for their money, said Gavekal Dragonomics’ Arthur Kroeber.

People see Japan as a place that’s very stable, a place that’s operating on its own steam, and a place that’s highly predictable.

In other words, a place far away from the financial chaos of the EU.

Kroeber, the author of "China’s Economy: What Everyone Needs to Know," said China has a lot to lose should the EU economies continue to crumble.

The European Union is an even bigger destination for Chinese goods than the United States.

The EU is China’s largest trading partner, and as China enters an era of slower growth, the timing of potential breakup of the European Union couldn’t be worse.

“I think the best compliment I can give is not to say how much your programs have taught me (a ton), but how much Marketplace has motivated me to go out and teach myself.” – Michael in Arlington, VA

As a nonprofit news organization, what matters to us is the same thing that matters to you: being a source for trustworthy, independent news that makes people smarter about business and the economy. So if Marketplace has helped you understand the economy better, make more informed financial decisions or just encouraged you to think differently, we’re asking you to give a little something back.

Become a Marketplace Investor today – in whatever amount is right for you – and keep public service journalism strong. We’re grateful for your support.

Follow Rob Schmitz at @rob_schmitz