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Single-Country ETFs for Emerging Markets Slammed by Fed Talk


Concerned that free flowing liquidity from years of loose monetary policies will soon come to an end, investors are shifting away from emerging market assets and exchange traded funds.

The Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO) lost 3% over the past month. The fund is down 5.1% year-to-date.

However, previously hot single-country ETFs for developing economies have been among the worst performers the past month.

Southeast Asia has been hit particularly hard. “Stock markets in Indonesia, the Philippines and Thailand have gone from being the world’s best to among the worst as the threat of reduced bond purchases by the U.S. Federal Reserve sends foreign investors to the exit,” Bloomberg reports.

“People are really worried we will see a 1994-type market event, when the Fed hiked rates and emerging markets suffered a lot,” Pierre-Yves Bareau, head of emerging debt at JPMorgan Asset Management, said in a Reuters article.

The emerging markets have been riding the investment wave fueled by easy liquidity. According to EPFR Global data, $46 billion has flowed into emerging market stocks and bonds so far this year after adding $90 billion in new inflows last year. [Emerging Market ETFs Test Long-Term Trends and Support]

However, speculation of the an eventual “tapering” in the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing plan has spooked investors.

“The seed of doubt has been sown as to what prospects the emerging markets trade has from here,” Manik Narain, a strategist at UBS, said in the article. “The big picture is: the U.S. economy is recovering and the Fed has signaled that tapering will happen.”

Moreover, emerging market stocks are suffering from a slowing economic outlook. [Options Traders Betting Against Emerging Market ETFs with Puts]

“The trend for emerging equities is very negative indeed, with a strong probability of major outflows from the asset class later this year,” John-Paul Smith, head of emerging equity strategy at Deutsche, in a separate Reuters report.

Some of the worst performing emerging market country-specific ETFs over the past month include:

  • iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Index Fund (TUR) : down 15.5%
  • iShares MSCI Philippines Investable Market Index Fund (EPHE) : down 11.6%
  • iShares MSCI All Peru Capped ETF (EPU) : down 10.3%
  • iShares MSCI Chile Capped ETF (ECH) : down 10.1%
  • iShares MSCI South Africa Index (EZA) : down 8.1%
  • iShares MSCI Mexico Capped ETF (EWW) : down 8.0%
  • iShares MSCI Thailand Capped ETF T(THD) : down 7.0%
  • iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (EWZ) : down 6.1%
  • WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (EPI): down 5.9%
  • iShares MSCI Russia Capped Index Fund (ERUS) : down 5.5%
  • Global X FTSE Colombia 20 ETF (GXG) : down 5.5%

For more information on the emerging markets, visit our emerging markets category.

Max Chen contributed to this article.

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.