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EM ETFs Bounce Back, but Outflows Persist


Some emerging markets exchange traded funds started bouncing back last week, eroding parts of still ugly year-to-date losses.

For example, the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) , the two largest ETFs by assets tracking developing world equities, were up 2.5% and 2.8%, respectively, last week. That was not enough to keep investors from pulling significant amounts of capital from those funds and others. [Investors Depart EM ETFs in Droves]

“Investors withdrew $4.5 billion from funds in the week through Feb. 12, extending the total outflow this year to $29.7 billion, according to Barclays, which cited data provider EPFR Global,” Bloomberg reported. For all of 2013, $29.2 billion departed emerging markets funds, according to Bloomberg.

Last month, $10 billion was pulled from emerging markets ETFs as global investors fretted about issues ranging from slowing Chinese growth, sliding currencies and the impact of those weaker currencies on the external financing needs of some developing economies.

As departures from emerging markets assets have persisted, EEM and VWO have lost more than $10 billion combined year-to-date despite persistent calls that developing world equities are inexpensive. Russia and China are two of the most discounted emerging markets and have been for a while, but that has not stopped outflows of nearly $300 million combined from the Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX) and the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) this year. [EM Bull Turns Bearish]

Not all emerging markets ETFs have been stung by the outflow bug. The iShares Core MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (IEMG) has attracted almost $367 million since the start of the year while the WisdomTree Emerging Markets SmallCap Dividend Fund (DGS) has brought in nearly $18 million. DGS has some points of allure with a 30-day SEC yield of almost 3.2% and its heavy weights to lower beta developing markets as Taiwan, South Korea and Malaysia combine for over 48% of the ETF’s weight. [Rout Puts New Breed of EM ETFs in Focus]

The flows picture is mixed, but leans negative when it comes to emerging markets bond ETFs, although the iShares J.P. Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ETF (EMB) and the Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF (VWOB) are inflow positive to start 2014.

Vanguard Emerging Markets Government Bond ETF

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

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.