Barclays Global Investors is breaking new ground with their iShares exchange traded funds (ETFs): they’re the first to launch funds covering Israel, Thailand and Turkey.

In addition to these funds, iShares has also launched two global funds. One covers the world, another covers the world, minus the United States. The addition of these five funds means iShares has the largest international ETF offering, with more than 60 global, international and emerging market funds.

According to Noel Archard, head of U.S. iShares product development, non-U.S. markets account for 57% of the world’s equity market capitalization and performance of these markets continues to differ from the U.S. markets.

The new ETFs are:

  • iShares MSCI ACWI Index Fund (ACWI)
  • iShares MSCI ACWI ex US Fund (ACWX)
  • iShares MSCI Isreal Capped Investable Market Index Fund (EIS)
  • iShares MSCI Turkey Investable Market Fund (TUR)
  • iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund (THD)

The biggest asset attractor, reports Murray Coleman for Index Universe, will likely be ACWI. It has 2,884 stocks from both developed and emerging markets in every investible market in the world.

Turkey: The country is poised on the brink of seeing its newfound political and economic stability crumble, reports Yigal Schleifer for Eurasia Net. The Constitutional Court is expected to consider a motion to shut down the governing party. The country’s currency, the lira, hit a seven-month low. Turkish law gives the judiciary broad powers to shut down political parties, and it has closed 24 of them since its establishment in 1963. The lawsuit is threatening the country’s bid for European Union membership.

Israel: Despite the ongoing troubles in the Middle East, Israel’s economy has moved at a 5% growth rate for the last four years, reports Paul David Glader for World Magazine. The currency, the shekel, has gained 31% against the dollar in the last two years, and unemployment is at its lowest level in the past decade. The country has also lowered its debt.

Thailand: Share prices closed higher today, but any optimism investors have there is overshadowed by U.S. economy fears, reports Thomson Financial. Thailand benefits from its country’s general pro-investment policies and has strong export growth – 17% in 2006 and 12% in 2007. Last year, the economy grew 4.5%, according to the CIA World Factbook.

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.