Investing in international exchange traded funds comes with risks for U.S. investors such as the obvious geopolitical factors — however, many investors can overlook currency risk. To mitigate these currency risks, some ETFs hedge their exposure to foreign currencies.
“Currency risk is a recurring phenomenon, as exchange rates are continuously changing and are functions of macroeconomic factors such as central bank regulations, interest rates, inflation, fiscal deficit, and trade deficit. Thus, investors have to keep in mind a host of other factors before considering international investments,” Zacks Equity Research wrote. [An ETF for Higher Japanese Stocks and a Weaker Yen]
ETFs that track overseas markets has made investing in foreign countries easy, and accessible for investors of every level. If there is a level of misunderstanding of how the financial product works, the probability of getting burned is higher. Anyone that can open a brokerage account can invest in an exotic foreign country in one step, however, there are government and border clashes, geopolitical risk and currency risk that can cut into returns, and quick. [Japanese ETFs and Currency Hedging]
The level of risk that is innate in the currency of a particular country is bundled into the chosen ETF. Volatility of the currency in which the invested assets are denominated can cut into returns due to the exchange rate of asset denominated currency versus the domestic currency. This is important as negative currency fluctuations can virtually wipe out the entire returns from investment abroad even if the asset class has been able to provide the desired rate of return, reports Zacks. [ETFs That Hedge Their Foreign Currency Exposure]