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Emerging Market ETFs Beating the Broader Market: Here's How

Sanghamitra Saha

Wall Street has been rallying since October, thanks to optimism surrounding the U.S.-China phase-one trade deal, decent earnings releases, better-than-expected third-quarter GDP data and the extension of the Brexit deadline (read: Top ETF Stories of October).

Among several corners, emerging markets (EM) hogged attention with iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF EEM adding about 9.3% in the past month, followed by SPDR MSCI ACWI ex-US ETF’s CWI (up 8.3% and the S&P 500’s (up 6.6%).

Let’s find out what’s fueling the emerging market rally.

A Series of EM Rate Cuts

Central banks in South Korea, Indonesia, India, Turkey and South Africa resorted to rate cuts in the third quarter in order to keep signs of a slowdown at bay. In October too, countries like Brazil, India and Russia took the policy easing route by slashing rates (read: Emerging Market Debt ETFs Top Equities in Q3).

Improvement in US-Sino Trade Ties

After months of wrangling, the United States and China managed to announce the phase-one trade deal in mid-October. In this partial trade deal with China, Washington suspended the tariff hike on Chinese goods worth $250 billion that was supposed to go into effect in late October and Beijing agreed to buy $40-$50 billion of U.S. farm products. The signing of the deal is supposed to take place in mid-November. Investors should note that many EM ETFs are heavy on China and thus gain on assuring trade developments (read: ETFs to Buy on Phase 1 of U.S.-China Trade Deal).

Higher Growth Rate Than Developed Economies

Emerging markets have long been investors’ choices due to their high growth potential and rapid pace of industrialization. Per IMF projections, growth in advanced economies will slow to 1.7% in 2019 and 2020, while emerging market and developing economies will experience growth of 3.9% in 2019 and 4.6% in 2020.

Subdued Greenback

Thanks to a dovish Fed and a few more days of cheap dollar inflows, EM equities have been putting up a stellar performance. Investors should note that the Fed has enacted three rate cuts since July, which weakened the greenback to some extent. Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund UUP has lost 0.8% in the past month. Since EM equities tend to perform better in a low-rate environment, EM assets had every reason to outperform.

Steady Commodity Market

Last but not the least, commodity prices remained steady on a favorable demand-supply scenario and a lower greenback. Since several emerging markets are commodity-rich, rising commodity prices must have showered gains on the bourses of these countries. Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund DBC has gained 4% in the past month (as of Nov 7).

ETFs in Focus

Investors have also started pouring money into the ETF EEM recently, driving assets under management to the highest level in months, FactSet data show, as quoted on Wall Street Journal. Since October, EEM amassed about $330.6 million in assets while SPDR S&P 500 ETF SPY shed about $2.20 billion.

Below we highlight a few emerging market ETFs that have gained substantially in the past four weeks and beaten the S&P 500 (read: New Active Emerging Market ETF Hits Market).

First Trust RiverFront Dynamic Emerging Markets ETF (RFEM) — Up 9.1%

iShares Emerging Markets Infrastructure ETFEMIF — Up 8.5%

Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company Index ETF FNDE — Up 8.3%

Invesco FTSE RAFI Emerging Markets ETF PXH — Up 8%

WisdomTree Emerging Markets Equity Income Fund DEM — Up 9.8%

Pacer Emerging Markets Cash Cows 100 ETF ECOW — Up 7.6%

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Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund (UUP): ETF Research Reports
 
WisdomTree Emerging Markets High Dividend Fund (DEM): ETF Research Reports
 
Invesco FTSE RAFI Emerging Markets ETF (PXH): ETF Research Reports
 
Invesco DB Commodity Index Tracking Fund (DBC): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM): ETF Research Reports
 
Schwab Fundamental Emerging Markets Large Company Index ETF (FNDE): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY): ETF Research Reports
 
Pacer Emerging Markets Cash Cows 100 ETF (ECOW): ETF Research Reports
 
SPDR MSCI ACWI ex-US ETF (CWI): ETF Research Reports
 
iShares Emerging Markets Infrastructure ETF (EMIF): ETF Research Reports
 
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