Oil Still an Issue for Russia ETFs

November 4th at 10:00am by Todd Shriber

There are three exchange traded funded funds offering exposure to Russian large-caps: The Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX), the oldest and largest of the trio; the SPDR S&P Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RBL) and the iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF (NYSEArca: ERUS).

All three traded higher last month, which could be a sign that although growth is slowing in Russia, investors are finally finding it hard to resist some of the emerging world’s cheapest stocks. Russian equities historically trade at discounts to the broader emerging markets universe, but those discounts have become so steep that Russian stocks can be had for a song relative to their usual valuations. [A Look at the Cheapest Emerging Markets]

Last month, J.P. Morgan Asset Management said Russian stocks traded at four standard deviations below the EM average and its forward P/E of five is far cry from the 7.7 10-year average. Russia’s 0.7 price-to-book is about the 10-year average.

Increased oil output could make those valuations rise a bit. Last month, Russia, the world’s largest oil producer, pumped an average of 10.59 million barrels per day, a record for the post-Soviet era. Last month’s production increase was in part “due to Rosneft increasing production at the Vankor field in the Krasnoyarsk Region, according to RT.com.

While Russia still has a way to go to reach the Soviet-era record of 11.41 million barrels per day seen in 1988, last month’s output increase and the ensuing rise in Russia ETFs reminds investors just how correlated those funds are to Russia’s oil industry. [Russia ETF's Lag BRIC Rivals]

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