Asia Markets Headlines

These are Asia's best and worst performing major indexes so far this year

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After nine months of low global growth, political upsets such as Brexit, and turmoil in the markets there have been some winners and losers among Asia's major indexes.

CNBC takes a look at who's risen and who's fallen.


With growth in developed markets slowing drastically, investors have been searching for growth in the developing world.

Pakistan's benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange 100 Index was the region's best performer, with year-to-date gains of nearly 23.19 percent, compared to a 10.82 percent gain on the broad MSCI Asia Pacific ex Japan index.

Though Pakistan's political stability can sometimes be volatile analysts have said the country's fundamentals were relatively stable.

"Preliminary GDP (gross domestic product) growth for fiscal 16 (ended June 2016) accelerated to a seven-year high of 4.7 percent, although it may be revised down to 4.5 percent," said analysts at Standard Chartered bank in a note this week.

Under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan avoided an external payments crisis due to an International Monetary Fund loan program and investments from China.

Sweetening the deal was the fact that earlier this year, Pakistan gained entry into one of the world's most popular emerging markets equity indices - the MSCI Emerging Markets Index - while its ally China was snubbed.

Following in Pakistan's footsteps was the Vietnam VN-Index, which gained 18.91 percent year-to-date.

"Vietnam remains one of the bright spots in Asia," said Vishnu Varathan, senior economist at Mizuho Bank.

He explained that as China shifts from a labor-intensive economy to a higher-skilled one, Vietnam, with its low wage costs and relatively good infrastructure proposition, was reaping benefits as more companies shifted their manufacturing plants to the country.

However, Varathan added, the country needed to fortify its banking sector.

Indonesia's Jakarta Composite was up 16.80 percent for year-to-date, with the IMF seeing the country's growing by a healthy 4.9 percent this year and 5.3 percent in 2017.

This was despite the low price of crude oil walloping other OPEC nations - Indonesia is the only OPEC member country in Asia Pacific and exported $6.4 billion worth of petroleum in 2015 according to OPEC data.

The Standard Chartered analysts said resilient private consumption, less negative external demand and private investment were likely to underpin growth in the second half, though at a more moderate pace, which would offset a lower government contribution.


China's was the worst performer in the region, down 15.09 percent year-to-date. The other lesser well-known index, Shenzhen Composite, fell 13.59 percent, after being the best performer in the region in 2015.

At the start of the year, Chinese markets sold off notably in the first week of January before steadying; since then, prolonged liquidity concerns in the financial sector have kept investors on edge.

However, China's economic outlook appeared to have stabilized, according to ANZ analysts. They said in a note this week the growth momentum in the world's second largest economy was stable, and backed by the "strong performance of the housing market."

"The vibrancy of the property market is a double-edged sword. Massive property sales have been a growth driver, but this has resulted in surging mortgage loans and financial risk. Under this backdrop, the People's Bank of China is likely to maintain a neutral policy stance," the analysts said.

Japan's benchmark was down 13.57 percent year-to-date as the country's policymakers grapple with a moribund economy where despite adopting negative deposit rates, inflation remains well below the Bank of Japan's 2 percent target.

Shares have also come under pressure from a relatively stronger yen, since the introduction of the negative deposit rates in late January.

"We expect subdued GDP growth of 0.7 percent this year and 0.6 percent in 2017," said the Standard Chartered analysts. "Expect private consumption and business investment to remain anemic in Q4."

What to watch in Q4

The final quarter of the year look set to be filled with several key risk events that could keep investors on edge.

This includes the U.S. presidential election in November, a possible interest rate hike from the Federal Reserve in December, ongoing issues surrounding European banks, low growth and inflation momentum in Japan, as well as rising geopolitical tensions in the region in the Indian subcontinent and in the Philippines.

"While the period for seasonal share market weakness (August to October) so far has passed without a major mishap, we remain cautious on shares in the short term as event risk remains high for the months ahead," said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital.

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