Until today, there were no international corporate exchange traded funds (ETFs) available in the U.S. market. This morning, State Street began trading one and PowerShares has filed for another.

State Street’s new fund, the first international corporate bond ETF to hit the scene, launched this morning. The SPDR Barclays Capital International Corporate Bond ETF (NYSEArca: IBND) tracks the Barclays Capital Global Aggregate ex-USD >$1B: Corporate Bond Index. The index tracks investment-grade corporate bonds outside the United States.

IBND is a useful way to further diversify bond exposure, since it gives investors access to debt that’s denominated in the local currency. International corporate bonds also tend to pay yield premiums over sovereign debt of similar durations.

The fund has its heaviest weightings in financials (46.9%), industrials (39.5%) and utilities (11.6%). Bonds in the fund are rated Baa or higher; nearly 50% of the bonds are rated A or better. The annual expense ratio is 0.55%.

State Street may not be the lone international corporate bond ETF for long – PowerShares has also filed to launch one of their own: The International Corporate Bond Portfolio (NYSEArca: PICB). Oliver Ludwig for Index Universe reports that the fund will have a 0.50% expense ratio and will be based on the S&P International Corporate Bond Index. [What Type of Bond ETF Works for You?]

The new ETF will focus in on invest investment-grade corporate bonds issued by non-U.S. issuers in the following currencies: euros; Australian, Canadian and New Zealand dollars; British pounds; Japanese yen; Swiss francs; Danish and Norwegian krone; and Swedish krona. [What’s Driving the Bond ETF Market?]

PowerShares’ new ETF could enter the market when the 60-day waiting period expires.

As the bond investors seek overseas yields and more diversification, these ETFs could be hitting the scene at a good time. Stay tuned.

For more stories about corporate bonds, visit our corporate bonds 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.

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