(Reuters) – Asian equities valuations dropped to lowest since December 2018 at the end of March, following accelerated selling of regional shares by global investors on worries that extended factory shutdowns would lead to depressed profits this year.
The 12-month forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio, for MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares (MIAP00000PUS), fell to 11.79 at end-March, compared to 14.19 at the end of last year, according to Refinitiv data.
(Graphic: MSCI Asia and World Index’s PE IMAGE link: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/yzdvxrklvxe/MSCI%20Asia%20and%20World%20Index’s%20PE.jpg)
By Wednesday’s close, the index was 23.5% lower from its January high of 175.13.
Many corporations are warning about a hit to their earnings this year as the virus outbreak has disrupted supply chains and business activities around the world.
Price valuations of Indonesia, Philippines, India and Vietnam shares have fallen sharply this year, the data showed.
At the end of March, South Korea, China and Vietnam shares were the cheapest in the region, with P/E multiples of 8.89, 8.94 and 9.06, respectively.
On the other hand, New Zealand shares were the most expensive, with a P/E ratio of 23.72.
Victor Carlström, chairman of investment firm Vinacossa Enterprises, said he would wait for some more weeks before buying Asian shares despite valuations being very attractive.
“If I had already sold, I would definitely not buy back before we have the facts,” Carlström said.
(Graphic: Valuation of Asian equities IMAGE link: https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/nmovajdepab/Valuation%20of%20Asian%20equities.jpg)