With taper talk and a focus on the U.S. market, many emerging nations have struggled lately. Several were beaten down more than 10% (and remain depressed) in the past six months as many investors abandoned these risky markets.
In fact, countries like India and Indonesia are still struggling with some expecting more losses in these huge markets to close out the year. However, the ride hasn’t been as bumpy across the emerging Asia-Pacific space, as a few have managed to see solid performances in the time frame (read 4 Unbeatable ETF Strategies for Q4).
Generally speaking, the top performers have been Asian markets that have decent GDP growth, low inflation levels, and are reasonably developed. Markets that have a good current account balance and robust forex reserves have also been well-insulated from the general market woes, and could be better picks if the markets get rocky once more.
For investors searching for two such markets, we have found them by looking to both South Korea and Taiwan. These borderline developed nations both have seen strong performances lately, and could be well-positioned as each both have inflation rates below 1.5%, GDP growth above 2% for 2013, and forex reserves above $300 billion (read Emerging Market ETFs: How to Pick Winners).
How to Play
The options for South Korea and Taiwan aren’t that diverse from an ETF perspective, though each have a huge iShares fund tracking their market. This includes the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (EWY) and the iShares MSCI Taiwan Index Fund (EWT).
Both funds have more than $2.5 billion in assets and see solid volume levels, so trading costs shouldn’t be too high for either one. Plus, both have a huge focus on the technology sector and have thoroughly beaten out broad emerging markets over the past six months, posting performances of 7.8% (for EWT) and 11.7% (EWY) in the time frame.
Given the relative strength of their economies, their recent outperformance, and the solid sector focus, and these could be two emerging market ETFs to watch as we enter the tail end of the year. This is particularly true if more turmoil hits the developing world, as these appear better positioned than most to deal with any issues that might crop up (see Two Asia Pacific ETFs Avoiding the Crash).
For more on these solid emerging market ETFs, watch our short video on the subject below:
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- South Korea