South Korea’s exchange traded fund (ETF) is not only a standout in today’s trading, but it’s up a nice 24.4% in the last six months. Since the March 9 market low, iShares MSCI South Korea (EWY) is up 58.2%. What gives?

Thank electronics maker Samsung, which accounts for a hefty 17.7% of the ETF. Despite a global economic crisis and consumer discretionary spending that’s all but non-existent, Samsung has managed to produce strong earnings. Daniel Indiviglio for The Atlantic seeks to explain how they’ve done it.

  • Samsung’s key businesses, such as semiconductors, LCD and mobile phones, have beaten expectations.
  • Consumers are still buying technology and they love new gadgets and toys – just look at the iPhone’s success.
  • Consumers are still demanding quality in their electronics. While many consumers are going generic for other items, technology is apparently one area where they’re not as willing to settle for less.
  • South Korean brands tend to get higher consumer quality ratings than their Japanese counterparts, making it a dominant player in the technology space.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Korea said it will raise interest rates in November to stave off inlfation as the economy rights itself, reports Seyoon Kim for Bloomberg. South Korea cut its benchmark rate to a record-low 2% in February, which helped the economy dodge a recession in the first quarter.

  • iShares MSCI South Korea (EWY): up 25.1% year-to-date

For more stories on South Korea, visit our South Korea category.

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.