The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM) lost nearly $2.5 billion in July, underscoring the point that emerging market stocks and related exchange traded funds have been unloved over past couple of years as developed markets outperformed.
Investors have been departing previously favored emerging markets from South America to Asia with the latter being a significant cause for concern because international investors once viewed emerging Asia as a beacon of strength in the developing world.
The iShares MSCI Thailand Capped ETF (THD) is a prime example of investors’ growing distaste for some once beloved single-country emerging markets ETFs. The lone Thailand ETF is off 6.6% over the past month and 8.2% year-to-date, declines hastened by investors fleeing Thai stocks.
“Overseas funds unloaded a net $774 million of Thai shares in July as the benchmark SET Index fell 4.3 percent. The baht is trading near the weakest level in more than six years after slumping 3.4 percent against the U.S. dollar last month,” reports Annuchit Nguyen for Bloomberg.
Last month, investors yanked nearly $43 million from THD, bringing the ETF’s year-to-date outflows to $153.6 million. THD is now home to $278.1 million in assets under management, indicating that the ETF is proving more vulnerable to macro headwinds than previous bouts of domestic political strife.
In January,the Thai parliament voted to impeach former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and moved forward with criminal charges against Shinawatra for her role in a rice price-fixing scandal. She could face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty on the criminal charges. She has also been banned from leaving the country. [Thailand ETFs Rises Despite Small Outflows]
“The finance ministry last week cut its forecasts for exports and gross domestic product growth for a third time this year. A factory output index has fallen every month but one since March 2013, while exports have declined each month this year. The government has disbursed less than half the 450 billion baht ($13 billion) earmarked for roads, mass transit and other infrastructure projects in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30,” according to Bloomberg.
THD has been hit by a perfect currency storm: The rising dollar and the Thai central bank’s efforts to depress the baht in a bid to boost Thai exporters. The WisdomTree Emerging Currency Strategy Fund (CEW) allocates almost 6.7% of its weight to the Thai baht. That ETF is off more than 14% over the past year.
iShares MSCI Thailand Capped ETF
Tom Lydon’s clients owns shares of EEM.
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