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ETF Winners & Losers on IMF Growth Forecast

Sanghamitra Saha

The widely watched World Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is out and investors may want to sieve economies projected to boom from those likely to bust. While the organization maintained the global growth forecast at 3.5% for 2017 and 3.6% for 2018, there are some key regions that underwent upgrades and downgrades in the latest IMF review.

Below we highlight those country and related ETFs, as these could gain and lose in the days to come on IMF’s projection.


Euro Zone Upgraded

The IMF upgraded 2017 GDP growth projections for the Euro zone by 0.2 percentage points from April to 1.9%. The IMF said Euro zone growth would be slightly sturdier at 1.7% in 2018, reflecting a 0.1-point rise from April. The Euro zone saw a strong start to the year thanks to economic improvement helped by fixed investment and household consumption as well as upbeat corporate earnings.

ETFs like iShares MSCI EMU ETF EZU, Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF VGK and SPDR Euro STOXX 50 ETF FEZ should have more room for upside on the back of IMF’s verdict (read: Euro at 2-Year High: ETF Winners & Losers).

China’s Estimate Upped Despite Moderation in Growth

The IMF expects growth of 6.7% for China in 2017, up 0.1 point from the April forecast. China's growth is expected to slow down to 6.4% in 2018, but IMF noted that the projection is still up 0.2 percentage points from the April forecast.

High levels of public investment led IMF to beef up its Chinese growth forecast. China ETFs like iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI), iShares MSCI China ETF MCHI and SPDR S&P China ETF GXC should get a fillip from this move (read: What Does the MSCI Inclusion Mean for China A Shares and ETFs?).


U.S. Growth Forecast Reduced on Trump’s Policy Uncertainty

The IMF lowered its growth forecast for the U.S. thanks to doubts over President Trump's ability to deliver on his pro-growth promises. The agency has downgraded U.S. growth to 2.1% for 2017 and 2018 from the previous projections of 2.3% and 2.5%, respectively (read: Best ETF Strategies for Trump Uncertainty).

Lower-than-expected expansion in the fiscal policy given the ongoing political drama prompted the IMF to go for a downgrade. Major proposed reforms like the health care bill, tax cuts and defense budget increase are still way behind the enactment. Plus, Trump’s inclination toward protectionism is another threat to the U.S.

This may put pressure on U.S. growth ETFs like iShares Russell 1000 Growth ETF IWF and Vanguard Growth ETF VUG.

Brexit May Weigh on U.K.

Britain had to go through the biggest downgrade of economic growth projections by the IMF for the world's most developed economies this year, thanks to Brexit. Britain's economy is now expected to expand 1.7% this year, down from the 2% forecast in April. Weaker-than-expected activity in the first quarter was also behind the downgrade (read: UK Votes for Brexit: ETFs Winners & Losers).

The IMF reiterated its growth forecast for the British economy at 1.5% for 2018, slightly lower than the expected growth in France and Germany next year. UK ETFs like iShares MSCI United Kingdom ETF EWU and First Trust United Kingdom AlphaDEX Fund FKU may thus get hurt in the days ahead.

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SPDR-SP CHINA (GXC): ETF Research Reports
ISHARS-MS CH IF (MCHI): ETF Research Reports
FT-UTD KINGDOM (FKU): ETF Research Reports
ISHARS-EMU IDX (EZU): ETF Research Reports
SPDR-EU STX 50 (FEZ): ETF Research Reports
ISHARS-RS 1K GR (IWF): ETF Research Reports
ISHARS-UTD KING (EWU): ETF Research Reports
VANGD-FTSE EUR (VGK): ETF Research Reports
VIPERS-GROWTH (VUG): ETF Research Reports
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