August 6, 2019 / 2:07 AM / 14 days ago

Japanese stocks dive to 7-month low on fears of full-blown U.S-China economic war

* Nikkei, Topix hit lowest level since early Jan

* U.S.-China confrontation seen hurting exporters

TOKYO, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Japanese shares plummeted more than 2% on Tuesday to their lowest levels since early January, spooked by the spectre of a full-blown economic war between the United States and China after Washington designated China a currency manipulator.

The Nikkei share average fell 2.19% to 20,267.17, after diving 2.94% at one point and hitting its lowest since Jan. 4. The broader Topix lost 2.11% to 1,474.13, also hitting a seven-month low.

A yearlong U.S.-China trade war took a sharp turn for the worse as Washington accused Beijing of manipulating its currency after China let the yuan drop to its lowest point in more than a decade.

Companies with exposure to global trade were badly hit as the yen has risen, hitting a seven-month high against the dollar.

Toyota Motor and Softbank Group, Japan’s two biggest firms by market cap with global presence, fell 3.27% and 4.2% respectively.

Panasonic slumped 3.0%, having lost as much as 4.2% to hit 3-1/2-year lows while Honda Motor fell 2.3%, hitting three-year lows.

Only about 3% of more than 2,100 listed shares on the main board rose while 95% of them fell.

Earnings continued to weigh on many shares.

Suzuki Motor declined 3.0% after the automaker posted disappointing quarterly earning results due to slowdown in India, the most important growth market for the firm. The shares have lost about half of their value from a record peak hit almost exactly a year ago.

Maruha Nichiro fell 8.2% after the fishery and food company posted fall in quarterly profits.

Bucking the trend, Suntory Beverage & Food rose 4.5% after its April-June profits beat market expectations

Taiyo Yuden also held relatively firm after the Apple supplier posted strong April-June profits. It last stood down 0.27%. (Editing by Shri Navaratnam)

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