The economic damage as a result of China’s earthquake last week has been tallied, but can their exchange traded funds (ETFs) plow ahead in spite of it? So far in trading today, the answer appears to be "yes."

Companies suffered $9.5 billion in damage, reports Joe McDonald for the Associated Press. Independent estimates have estimated the losses to be even higher – $20 billion – once future output is factored in.

Factories, coal mines, toll roads, office buildings, chemical plants and other facilities were damaged or destroyed. The death toll may pass 50,000.

In the long-term, analysts seem to agree that the impact of this quake on China’s rapidly growing economy should be limited. The Sichuan province is a major source of coal and natural gas, but it doesn’t have a huge network of other industries.

Food prices are being watched closely, as well. The earthquake killed 12.5 million farm animals and destroyed vegetable crops and irrigation systems that are needed to grow rice.

China’s ETFs were among last year’s strongest performers before declining heavily in the first quarter of this year. In the last couple of months, they’ve experienced a rally.

  • iShares FTSE/Xinhua China 25 (FXI): In 2007, it was up 54.8%; year-to-date, it’s down 6.9%. Since March 10, it’s up 19%.
  • SPDR S&P China (GXC): It launched last March, and was up for 2007 by 69.1%; year-to-date, it’s down 8.9%. Since March 10, it’s up 19.5%.


For full disclosure, some of Tom Lydon’s clients own shares of FXI.

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.