ETF Trends
ETF Trends

Concerns are growing the Ireland’s economy could threaten the European economy in much the same way that Greece did this summer. That could make Europe exchange traded funds (ETFs) an iffy bet, at least while this situation works itself out.

The Irish government is in debt so deep, many of the G-20 countries leaders believe that default is inevitable. Stephen Beard for Marketplace reports that the worries are so great, President Obama and the other leaders of the world’s 20 wealthiest nations ended up in heavy discussions about the Irish economy’s prospects. [Ireland ETF Hit By Negative GDP.]

But it’s not just Ireland, which denies it’s in bailout talks to begin with. Other European economies are once again sounding an alarm:

  • Portugal said that its own troubles might lead to the country getting expelled from the eurozone, says The Wall Street Journal.
  • Greece floated the possibility of extended repayment of its $150 billion bailout, which would do little to calm investor concerns about the eurozone.

But concerns about Ireland dwarf those other worries. The Irish government is being urged to put aside pride and ask for a bailout. The difference of opinion about Ireland’s economy and the need for a bailout may stymie its growth until, at the very least, investor confidence is restored.

Ash Bennington for CNBC reports that $67 billion may be needed to plug the hole, which may then give the focused ETF iShares MSCI Ireland (NYSEArca: EIRL) a chance to get off the ground. In the last six months, it’s felt pain along with the broader Irish economy, sinking nearly 18%. [PIIGS ETFs Not Out Of The Woods Yet.]

Fortunately, broad Europe ETFs have held their ground as the crisis deepens. Funds like Vanguard Europe Pacific (NYSEArca: VEA) and WisdomTree Europe SmallCap Dividend (NYSEArca: DFE) are up about 11% in the last six months. Before you buy any Europe ETF, be sure to check the weighting in Ireland in the ETF Resume if you’re concerned about the situation there.

Tisha Guerrero contributed to this article.

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.