September 3, 2018 / 9:35 AM / in 2 months

Trade worries caused Asian shares to deepen 2018 losses in August

Sept 3 (Reuters) - Asian stocks slipped in August, dragged down by the trade dispute between China and the United States, while the plunge in the Turkish lira prompted some investors to sell emerging market assets.

During August, the MSCI Asia-Pacific index touched a more than 11-month low and it closed down 0.83 percent for the month. The index has declined more than 5 percent this year.

Chinese stocks topped the regional losers last month, falling 5.25 percent, followed by Singapore and Hong Kong shares.

The escalating trade war between the world’s two biggest economies is expected to affect the regional trade activity and, in turn, Asian companies’ earnings prospects as they derive a major chunk of revenue from exports.

Over the past month, analysts have slashed Asian companies’ 2018 earnings estimates by 1.27 percent, and cut those for 2019 earnings by 1.52 percent, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S data.

Share indexes in New Zealand, Japan and Taiwan are the only ones in the region that have registered gains for 2018 in dollar terms, while the rest have suffered sharp declines.

New Zealand, India, and Malaysian stocks have the highest price-to-earnings ratio based on 12-month forward earnings in Asia, according to Thomson Reuters data.

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Editing by Richard Borsuk

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