HONG KONG (Nikkei Markets) -- Asian shares outside of Japan began a crucial week on a flat note with traders assessing the likelihood of a U.S.-China trade deal at the G20 summit.
The Nikkei Asia300 Index of companies outside Japan ended little changed at 1,318.78 on Monday.
Equities began on a cautious note in a week that could prove instrumental in shaping the risk appetite for the rest of the year. The week brings a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit in Japan, which runs from Friday to Saturday. The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the gathering, China's foreign ministry reportedly said Sunday.
Traders are more optimistic of a constructive outcome from the meeting following positive comments by Trump last week. However, a definitive trade deal is unlikely, analysts said.
"A commitment to restarting the trade talks seems to be the best obtainable result," ING Bank said in a note. "But even if both leaders decide to resume the talks, there are too many bridges to be crossed to get a deal quickly. We think this will lead to the US imposing another round of tariffs this quarter to ramp up the pressure."
The talks will not be helped by the U.S. blacklisting more Chinese technology companies on national security concerns on last Friday. The measure comes after Washington last month added China's Huawei Technologies to companies that were restricted from buying U.S. technology.
Chinese companies on the A300 put on a mixed performance on Monday. Hong Kong-shares of Chinese Pork producer WH Group, which has significant interest in the U.S., slid 2.6%. Carmakers advanced, while airlines pulled back after last week's rally. Air China declined 2.2% and Great Wall Motor added 1.1%.
Energy-related shares slipped despite a further uptick in crude oil prices after Trump said he will impose additional sanctions on Iran. China offshore energy explorer CNOOC slipped 0.2% and Singaporean rig builder Keppel Corp. dropped 0.8%.
Hero MotoCorp fell 0.8% and Bajaj Auto dropped 2%. Reuters reported on Sunday that India's federal think-tank had asked motorcycle makers to draw up a plan to switch to electric vehicles. Automakers were opposed to the proposal and warned that a transition at a time when sales were already slumping would lead to disruptions, the report added.
Singaporean conglomerate Sembcorp Industries fell 1.6%, while unit Sembcorp Marine declined 2.6%. Late Friday, Sembcorp Industries said it will provide its offshore and marine subsidiary with a five-year subordinated loan of S$2 billion ($1.48 billion). To fund the loan to Sembcorp Marine, Sembcorp Industries will issue S$1.5 billion of bonds through a private placement underwritten by DBS Bank.