No assets class with the emerging markets label, whether it is bonds, currencies or equities, has been immune from the carnage that has hit developing world financial markets this year. Currencies from Ankara to Jakarta to Mumbai have been among the world’s worst performers, but one ETF shows some emerging currencies are starting to show signs of life.
Since the start of July, the WisdomTree Emerging Markets Currency Fund (NYSEArca: CEW) is 1%. That may not sound like much, but consider that the fund is down 4% this year. ETFs tracking the Brazilian real and the Indian rupee and down 4.5% and 7.2%, respectively, this year. Those countries combine for 12.8% of CEW’s weight, so maybe a 1% gain since the beginning of this month is something to take note of. [Brazil ETFs Worst Q2 Global Performers]
Indonesia’s rupiah touched a four-year low against the U.S. dollar in Wednesday’s Asian and even interest rate increases by Indonesia’s central bank have not saved the currency from being one of Asia’s worst performers. Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, is 6.6% of CEW’s weight. [Indonesian ETFs for These ETFs]
So just how is CEW perking up? Well, the Brazilian real has helped. The WisdomTree Brazilian Real ETF (NYSEArca: BZF) is up 2% this month. The Mexcian peso has been sturdy. In fact the peso is the only floating emerging-market currency that has gained against the dollar in 2013 to date, according to MarketWatch. Mexico accounts for almost 6.8% of CEW’s weight.
The South Korean won, which has remained stubbornly strong against the Japanese yen, imperiling stocks in Asia’s fourth-largest economy, rose to a five-week high against the dollar Wednesday. The won is still trading near its lowest levels in a year against the dollar, but the former’s modest increase is helping CEW because the currency is the ETF’s second-largest holding.
CEW’s recent show of strength, albeit modest, could be just the beginning of more upside. Goldman Sachs believe the dollar is for some downside as other countries “have been too aggressive in anticipating tighter Federal Reserve monetary policy” and “traders have misinterpreted the U.S. Central Bank’s recent signals,” Bloomberg reported.
WisdomTree Emerging Markets Currency Fund
ETF Trends editorial team contributed to this post.