It has been a dismal four-week stretch for emerging markets ETFs. That much is highlighted by roughly 9% declines over the past month for the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) , the two largest ETFs tracking developing world nations.
Throw in prolonged weakness for a number of single-country ETFs covering Latin American and Southeast Asian nations, and it feels like it is getting harder everyday to find green shoots among emerging markets funds. [Single Country ETFs Slammed by Fed Talk]
Enter Poland. In what may come as a surprise to some investors, ETFs tracking the Eastern European economy that has seen economic growth slow noticeably in recent months are holding up quite well. Accounting for Wednesday’s small loss, the iShares MSCI Poland Capped Investable Market Index Fund (EPOL) is still up more than 6% in the past month. The rival Market Vectors Poland ETF (PLND) , the older of the two funds, is up 5.8% over the same time. [Emerging Markets ETFs in an Uptrend]
The sturdiness in Poland ETFs puts the funds in an enviable position of being among a small number of country-specific funds that are showing some promise following interest rate cuts. ETFs ranging from the iShares MSCI Australia Index Fund (EWA) to the iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund (THD) and scores of others have tumbled even after central banks have taken the ax to interest rates in those countries.
EPOL and PLND have shown some fortitude in the past month, a time that includes a 25-basis point cut by Poland’s Monetary Policy Council earlier this month. Poland’s central bank has slashed rates by 200 basis points over the past seven months. Overnight index swaps show there is an 82 percent chance Poland’s central bank will cut rates by another 25 basis points at its next meeting on July 3, reports Maciej Onoszko for Bloomberg.
On the other hand Polish policymaker Adam Glapinski recently told various media outlets that there is little chance the central bank pares rates again next month, noting additional cuts will not do much to help Eastern Europe’s largest economy.
There is some risk for EPOL and PLND. Moody’s said Wednesday that lower rates could hamper the profitability of Polish banks and affect the creditworthiness of those banks.
EPOL, the iShares offering, allocates over 47% of its weight to the financial services sector. The Market Vectors Poland ETF features slightly less exposure to financials, but a 39% weight to any sector in a single ETF can be seen as potentially risky.
Market Vectors Poland ETF
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this report. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of EEM.
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