Asian stocks' valuations rise for 4th month in December - Refinitiv data

Jan 3 (Reuters) - Asian equities’ valuations climbed for a fourth straight month in December, as easing U.S.-China trade tensions and an improving global economic outlook whetted risk appetite.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares rose for the fourth successive month, pushing its 12-month forward price-to-earnings ratio (P/E) to 14.2 times, the highest since January 2018, Refinitiv data showed.

Valuations of Indonesian shares jumped the most among Asian markets, making them the most expensive after India and Malaysia. As of Jan. 1, India, Malaysia and Indonesia traded at P/E ratios of 16.84, 16.11 and 15.98, respectively, the data showed.

On the other hand, China, Hong Kong and South Korean shares were the cheapest, with P/E multiples of 9.74, 11.17 and 11.39, respectively.

Appetite for Asian shares improved last month as the United States and China agreed on a preliminary trade deal on Dec. 13 to end their 17-month-long trade war. The deal is expected to be signed on Jan. 15.

Market sentiment was also aided by signs that global economic conditions will improve in 2020. China’s manufacturing activity expanded for the second straight month in December, while its industrial production rose 6.2% year-on-year in November.

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugbaoopathy in Bengaluru;