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New Zealand ETF’s Largest Holding Complains About Strong Kiwi


The iShares MSCI New Zealand Capped ETF (ENZL) , the lone ETF exclusively devoted to the export-driven country, has been something of a dichotomy.

The fund has surged 46.4% since coming to market just over three years ago, a gain made all the more impressive when considering that for most of the ETF’s life, the New Zealand dollar has been one of the better performing developed market currencies against the U.S. dollar.

Although the kiwi is down from its 2013 peak around 88 cents, NZD/USD trades higher today than where it resided soon after speculation about the Federal Reserve tapering its quantitative easing program started in late May.

In the past three months, ENZL, which has $148.2 million in assets under management, has gained 10%. However, at least one of the ETF’s marquee holdings is bemoaning the strong kiwi. [New Zealand ETF Could Escape Milk Powder Flap]

Fletcher Buildings said Wednesday that the strong New Zealand dollar is proving a significant headwind, reported Rebecca Howard for Dow Jones. Chairman Ralph Waters warned the strong New Zealand dollar against the Australian dollar could cost it around NZ$15 million if the current exchange rate is maintained, according to the news agency.

Fletcher Building talking about the ill effects of the strong kiwi is a scenario that ENZL investors should not take lightly because the stock is the ETF’s largest holding, accounting for nearly 16% of the fund’s weight. That is nearly 600 basis points more than the ETF’s second-largest holding. [ETFs for Fiscal Cliff Safety]

Earlier this year, the International Monetary Fund and even New Zealand’s own prime minister have called the kiwi overvalued. ENZL is not a hedged currency fund, but New Zealand’s industrial firms have been clamoring for a weaker dollar. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has not obliged, proving reluctant to lower interest rates or engage in quantitative easing, a stark departure from the game plan employed by other developed world central banks.

In fact, it is widely expected that RBNZ will raise rates early next year. If ENZL’s past performance is any indication, it may not matter to the ETF if the kiwi gets stronger, underscoring the dichotomy of kiwi strength and ENZL upside.

iShares MSCI New Zealand Capped ETF


ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.

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.