May 11, 2020 / 8:45 AM / 25 days ago

Virus hits Asian energy, exporters hardest, as analysts cut outlook

(Reuters) - Concerns that extended factory lockdowns and social distancing rules will dent company profits prompted analysts to cut forecasts for Asian companies’ 2020 earnings by around 5.4% over the last month, Refinitiv data showed.

The reductions take the total cut in earnings estimates to 14.8% so far this year.

The companies most affected are those reliant on exports and on energy, following a collapse in oil prices and in fuel demand because of lockdown restrictions and border closures.

Graphic - Change in Asian companies profit estimates: here

In the last month, companies dependent on the energy sector faced a 17.8% cut in 2020 forecasts.

Companies in export-reliant economies, South Korea and Thailand, were also hit hard as their profit forecasts were reduced by about 9% and 8.3% respectively.

Both economies shrank in the last quarter, with South Korea recording its biggest contraction since 2008 as self-isolation measures reduced consumption and global trade slumped.

The profit forecast downgrades followed poor first-quarter earnings results for many Asian companies, which reported a 19% year-on-year fall in bottom line, Refinitiv data found.

The consumer discretionary sector, which includes companies selling non-essential durable items such as televisions and automobiles, also faced big downgrades, the data showed.

Graphic - Asian companies sector-wise profit estimates change: here

Reporting by Gaurav Dogra and Patturaja Murugbaoopathy in Bengaluru; editing by Barbara Lewis

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