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Sharp posts lower-than-expected profit as trade gloom hits electronics demand

FILE PHOTO: A logo of Sharp Corp is pictured at the CEATEC JAPAN 2017 in Chiba

TOKYO (Reuters) - Sharp Corp reported a lower-than-expected quarterly operating profit, as an escalating trade war between the United States and China dampened demand for its electronics devices and television sets.

The trade dispute, punctuated by tit-for-tat import tariffs spanning industries, has slowed demand for consumer electronics worldwide, hitting both Sharp and its Taiwanese parent Foxconn, the world's largest contract manufacturer.

Sharp, which makes sensors, camera modules and screens for Apple Inc's iPhones, posted an operating profit of 14.61 billion yen ($133.82 million) for the first quarter ended June, down from 24.8 billion yen a year prior.

That compared with an 18.84 billion yen average of five analyst estimates compiled by Refinitiv.

Sharp, however, maintained its profit forecast for the year ending March at 100 billion yen, versus a consensus estimate of 90.42 billion yen from 9 analysts.

Sharp is the latest among Japanese electronics companies, including Panasonic, robot maker Fanuc and camera and copier maker Canon, to report a double-digit decline in profit for the quarter.

Its weak result comes amid dwindling iPhone sales.

Apple said sales of the smartphone fell 12% globally to $25.99 billion in the quarter to June, after a 17% drop in the prior quarter.

($1 = 109.1800 yen)

(Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Himani Sarkar)