May 24, 2019 / 6:31 AM / 5 months ago

Japan's Nikkei dips as U.S.-China tensions escalate

* Nikkei sheds 0.16% on Fri, posts 3rd straight weekly loss

* Tech sector hit by Washington’s Huawei ban

* Slide in crude prices hits trading houses, oil companies

By Hideyuki Sano

TOKYO, May 24 (Reuters) - Japan’s Nikkei share average dipped on Friday as escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over trade and technology firms weighed on investor appetite.

The Nikkei ended the day 0.16% lower at 21,117.22, posting its third consecutive weekly loss.

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday U.S. complaints against Huawei Technologies Co Ltd might be resolved within the framework of a U.S.-China trade deal, while at the same time calling the Chinese telecommunications giant “very dangerous.”

“The market mood isn’t good. To be sure, there remain hopes that the two countries’ relations could suddenly improve, so a lot of investors are taking a wait-and-see stance. But it is hard to deny the situation is deteriorating,” said Masayuki Doshida, a senior market analyst at Rakuten Securities.

Panasonic dropped 1.8%, a day after the company said it stopped shipments of certain components to Huawei to comply with U.S. regulations, although its China website said it continued to supply the Chinese company normally.

Camera maker Canon shed 3.4% and Tokyo Electron retreated 2.4%.

Electronic parts maker Murata Manufacturing crawled back 1% after its fall to a 2-1/2-year low earlier in the day prompted some bargain-hunting. Still, it is down almost 25% so far this month.

Elsewhere, a tumble in oil prices the previous day hit energy-related shares and trading houses.

Mitsui Co fell 1.2%, while fellow trading company Marubeni Corp lost 0.9%.

Oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan fell 3.9%. Petroleum and natural gas developers Inpex and JXTG Holdings dropped 4.7% and 3.7%, respectively.

Oil prices have suffered their steepest weekly losses so far this year as trade tensions fanned worries about a major downturn in the global economy. Brent crude futures sank nearly 5% on Thursday. The contract last traded at $68.61 per barrel, up 1.2% on the day, trimming a bit of Thursday’s steep losses.

The broader Topix inched up 0.04% to 1,541.21. (Additional reporting by Shinichi Saoshiro; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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