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Flows Show Investors Still Leery of Emerging Markets ETFs


Exchange traded funds tracking developing world economies have been a little less bad this month, which is confirmed by a modest July increase for the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) , the largest emerging markets ETF by assets.

Even some beleaguered China ETFs have turned in impressive July performances and that comes after $37 billion was pulled from emerging markets equity and bond funds last month. However, the green shoots have not been enough to tempt investors to put cash back to work with emerging markets funds. [A Long, Rough Road for China ETFs]

Equity funds around the world have attracted $47 billion in capital since the start of July, according to Citigroup, reports Johanna Bennett for Barron’s. Citigroup says developed markets dramatically outpaced their emerging market peers with net inflows totaling $48 billion since the start of July, according to Barron’s.

Investors’ skepticism regarding emerging markets ETFs comes as U.S. ETFs have attracted nearly $40 billion in inflows this month, one of the best months in industry history. None of the top-10 asset-gathering ETFs this month are emerging markets funds, but the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) is found on the ominous top-10 list for July outflows at almost $449.1 million, according to Index Universe data.

Marquee emerging markets, such as the BRIC nations, have not given investors much to cheer about this year. Brazilian equities have been pressured by tepid global commodities demand, a sagging currency and anti-government protests. India ETFs have been hit by a weak rupee and the inability of the Reserve Bank of India to contain the currency’s slide with hawkish commentary.

A rising current account deficit due to India’s energy import needs and its hefty appetite for gold are threatening the ability of Asia’s third-largest economy to hold onto an investment-grade credit rating. [India ETFs: The New Brazil ETFs?]

Areas of noticeable weakness in the developing world include Latin America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Barron’s reported.

VWO is down 13.6% year-to-date while EWZ has tumbled 23.3%, putting the largest Brazil ETF officially in bear market territory.

Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF

ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

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