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Tokyo: Stocks open lower on uncertainty over trade


[TOKYO] Tokyo stocks opened lower on Tuesday on lingering trade worries as US President Donald Trump warned he would impose huge new tariffs on China if his counterpart Xi Jinping does not attend the G-20 this month.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 0.22 per cent or 45.94 points to 21,088.48 in early trade, while the broader Topix index was down 0.10 per cent or 1.63 points at 1,551.31.

Following rallies in the previous session, Japanese shares are "facing selling pressure... and with uncertainty over US-China trade friction, factors supporting upward movement are limited," Yoshihiro Ito, chief strategist at Okasan Online Securities, said in a commentary.

Mr Trump on Monday delivered his hardline message ahead of the G-20 summit on June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan, which could mark a turning point in the trade dispute between the world's two biggest economies.

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Asked if a failure by Mr Xi to come to the summit would lead to tariffs kicking in on a further US$300 billion in Chinese imports, Mr Trump told CNBC television: "Yes it would."

Mr Trump said the meeting was "scheduled" and that he expects Xi to attend.

"I would be surprised if he didn't go," Mr Trump said. "I think he's going, I haven't heard that he's not."

However, as US-Chinese tensions mount, a spokesman for Mr Xi's government said last month that he had "no information at present" on Trump-Xi talks.

The dollar fetched 108.44 yen in early Asian trade, against 108.49 yen in New York late Monday.

In Tokyo, market heavyweight and Uniqlo casual wear operator Fast Retailing was down 1.30 per cent at 63,530 yen.

Airlines were among losers, with ANA declining 0.43 per cent to 6,689 yen and JAL trading down 0.14 per cent at 3,490 yen.

On Wall Street, the Dow ended up 0.3 per cent at 26,062.68.