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Bloody January for Emerging Markets Outflows


Investors are running for the exits as emerging markets exchange traded funds stumble.

“More than $7 billion flowed from ETFs investing in developing-nation assets in January, the most since the securities were created,” report Lu Wang and Ye Xie for Bloomberg.

That data point jibes with a not often seen, but still very real fact: Investors have pulled $8.5 billion from U.S.-listed ETFs this year. Of the $8.5 billion investors have pulled from U.S.-listed ETFs since the start of 2014, $7.6 billion has come out of equity funds while bond funds are lighter by $247 million. Despite improve price action in gold, commodities have shed $624 million, according to ConvergEx data. [Surprising ETF Outflows]

In a note published Wednesday, ConvergEx pointed out that the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) , the two largest emerging markets ETFs by assets, are among this year’s worst outflow offenders. In 2013, VWO and EEM along with three other emerging markets funds were among the 10 worst ETFs regarding lost assets. As of Wednesday, EEM and VWO have lost more than $7 billion combined.

The WisdomTree Emerging Markets Local Debt Fund (ELD) has lost $58 million this month, putting it on track for an eighth straight month of outflows, according to Bloomberg.

ELD, the first actively managed ETF to top $1 billion in assets under management, allocates almost 29% of its weight to Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey and South Africa. Those are four of the so-called Fragile Five nations that are seen as especially vulnerable to the Federal Reserve’s ongoing effort to taper its quantitative easing program. [Rate Hikes Fail to Stimulate BIITS ETFs]

Sinking asset prices in the developing world have stoked talk of an emerging markets crisis on par with the Asian sovereign debt crisis of the late 1990s, but some market observers believe select developing markets are more mature today than during prior crises and that the longer-term trend of increased institutional allocations to developing world debt remains intact. [Not All Bad for EM Bond ETFs]

iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF


ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post. Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of EEM.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.