Baltimore money manager T. Rowe Price announced Wednesday it has started a new fund focused on companies located in Asia to match investor interest in the increasingly important economic region.

The new Asia Opportunities Fund will pick companies expected to provide predictable earnings over the long-term, Price said in the announcement.

T. Rowe, which had more than $700 billion assets under management at the end of March, also operates the $3.8 billion New Asia Fund, but that 23-year-old fund picks companies based on potential earnings growth.

Portfolio manager Eric Moffett said many investors in Asia focus on short-term gains, overlooking companies that can produce steady returns, even if the region's economy overall slows.

"There's often little differentiation between low-quality companies and the companies that can endure and take market share during difficult market environments," he said in a statement. "The Asia Opportunities Fund seeks to invest in these companies, where we believe durable businesses present long-term opportunities and can consistently grow through various economic cycles."

nsherman@baltsun.com