July 2, 2018 / 10:38 AM / 3 months ago

Asian shares post worst first-half performance in 5 years

(Reuters) - Asian stocks declined sharply in June amid higher global bond yields and mounting China-U.S. trade friction that threatened global economic growth.

In the first half of 2018, the MSCI Asia-ex-Japan index .MIAPJ0000PUS fell 5.4 percent, marking its biggest drop in five years. The Asian markets saw a similar dismal performance in 2013 when the U.S. Federal Reserve said it would unwind its monetary easing policy, stoking a broad sell-off in regional markets.

Trade tensions between two of the world’s biggest economies - the United States and China - escalated last month keeping Asian markets on the edge.

The United States has threatened to impose duties on up to $450 billion of Chinese imports, with the first $34 billion portion set to go into effect by July 6 deadline.

Chinese stock markets .SSEC dropped about 8 percent in June, posting their biggest decline in 29 months. China's yuan was trading near a seven-month low on Monday as investors took a cautious stance amid a widening trade conflict.

Thailand .SETI and Hong Kong stocks .HSI saw a sharp decline in June, while New Zealand shares .NZ50 ended 3.3 percent higher last month.

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

For a graphic on Asia-Pacific equities performance, click tmsnrt.rs/2KrsAdA

For a graphic on monthly price change in local currency terms, click tmsnrt.rs/2Kov10B

For a graphci on valuations of Asia-Pacific equities, click tmsnrt.rs/2z2PjaP

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips

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