Analysts lifted forward 12-month earnings by 3.2% in April, the highest since December, according to Refinitiv data.
The big upgrades came as regional economies such as South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam saw an increase in factory output and shipments thanks to a rise in demand from developed economies which are making a fast recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Manishi Raychaudhuri, head of Asia-Pacific equity research at BNP Paribas, said remote working and accelerating adoption of ecommerce enhanced demand for semiconductors and tech hardware, boosting the profitability of the region’s manufacturers.
“Stronger consumption and investment demand in the developed economies have boosted commodity prices and the revenues of the North Asian exporters,” Raychaudhuri said.
Taiwan and South Korea saw earnings upgrades of 8.6% and 6.9% respectively in the past month, while Australia and China saw upgrades of 4.3% and 1.4%.
But Asian nations that have seen a recent surge in coronavirus cases such as India, Indonesia and Philippine saw their earnings downgraded during April.
MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index gained 1.4% in April, but the forward 12-month price to earnings ratio dropped to a six-month low of 16.51 at the end of April, reflecting the rise in earnings estimates.
The index gained more than 0.5% on Monday on hopes that interest rates will remain low due to receding inflationary pressures in the United States.
“The tug of war of the two forces – growth and liquidity – is likely to be present for the rest of 2021 and beyond,” said Alicia Garcia Herrero, Asia-Pacific chief economist at Natixis.
“The key will eventually be whether growth can be sustainable enough to take the driver seat over liquidity withdrawal,” she said. Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugaboopathy in Bengaluru; Editing by Edmund Blair