ETF Trends
ETF Trends

The Asia Pacific region has been plagued with slower growth, but activity in China, Hong Kong and Korea is expected to pick up steam by year end.  Recent economic activity in the U.S. has helped bolster growth in the region, leading investors to focused exchange traded funds.

“The second half of the year should see Shanghai’s A-shares’ index closing the year more than 16% higher. The Hang Seng China Enterprise Index, or so-called H-shares’ index of Chinese companies trading in Hong Kong, are expected by Asia IPC to rise more than 20% by the end of the year. Korea’s Kospi, which has slipped 5.8% this year through August 9, could soar more than 27% by year’s end, according to Asia IPC’s 2013 year-end target,” S&P Capital wrote in a recent note. [Asia-pacific ETFs: A Good Bet in a Down Market?]

S&P Capital ranks the BLDRS Asia 50 Overweight Index Fund (NYSEArca: ADRA) a top ETF for access to the region’s growth. Another broad-based ETF option is the Vanguard FTSE Pacific ETF (NYSEArca: VPL), which features a low expense ratio at 0.12%, the lowest in the category. [Shipping ETF: Asia’s Largest Shipper Provides a Grim Outlook]

Investors who want to target Korea’s stock markets should consider the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWY) or the First Trust South Korea AlphaDEX Fund (NYSEArca: FKO). EWY is down 13% year-to-date and FKO has lost 11%. All of the aforementioned ETFs have positive implications from the ratings company. [ETF Chart of the Day: South Korea]

Paul F. Gruenwald, Asia-Pacific chief economist for Standard & Poor’s forecasts at least modest growth for the region supported by a pick-up in economic activity in the U.S. He sees baseline gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.3% in 2013, 5.6% in 2014 and 5.5% in 2015 for the region. The numbers reflect the economies of Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam,and New Zealand.

Furthermore, assets in Asia-Pacific ETFs have risen about 50% to $136 billion, indicating that the region is growing rapidly. New ETF listings in the region have contributed to the overall asset growth and investment interest, reports Win-Gar Cheng for Pensions & Investments.

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.