December 31, 2018 / 10:28 AM / in 4 months

Asian shares post sharpest losses in 7 years in 2018

FILE PHOTO: A panel displaying stock indices of Asian markets at Hong Kong Exchanges in Hong Kong, China November 9, 2016. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

(Reuters) - Asian stock markets ended 2018 with negative returns in dollar terms, weighed down by trade tensions and slowing profit growth.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 16 percent this year in its sharpest drop since 2011.

Chinese equities .SSEC were the top losers in the region, shedding about 29 percent in dollar terms, followed by Pakistan .KSE and South Korea .KS11.

Graphic: Asia-Pacific equities valuations (tmsnrt.rs/2GLcN80)

Graphic: Asia-Pacific equities performance in 2018 (tmsnrt.rs/2GJ8lqq)

This year’s sharp declines have made regional stocks cheaper which could prompt bargain-hunting, some analysts said.

South Korean equities were the cheapest in the region with a forward price-to-earnings ratio of 8.8, followed by China’s 9.9, Refinitiv data showed.

Reporting by Patturaja Murugaboopathy and Gaurav Dogra in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu

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