A $5.8 billion exchange traded fund indexed to Japanese stocks is down 18% year to date as the country’s economy struggles to get back on its feet following the massive earthquake and tsunami.

The iShares MSCI Japan (NYSEArca: EWJ) lost 2% on Monday and traded below $9 a share for the first time since 2009.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 fell on Tuesday for the third session as the index closed at its lowest level since March 2009, Bloomberg reported.

“Valuations for Japanese stocks look cheap,” said Koichi Kurose, chief economist in Tokyo at Resona Bank, in the story. “Any gains may not be sustained given prevailing concerns about Europe and the U.S. The yen’s level has not been supportive of Japanese exporters.”

CurrencyShares Japanese Yen Trust (NYSEArca: FXY), which tracks the yen’s movements against the dollar, is up 5% in 2011 despite interventions designed to cool the yen’s rise. [Yen ETFs]

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