Emerging markets exchange traded funds are off to another ominous start in 2014, but there are some glimmers of hope. One of those glimmers comes courtesy of a country that was among the worst offenders during last year’s emerging markets sell-off.
Call it a rebound or a dash to trash, but Indonesia ETFs certainly look better in 2014 than broader emerging markets funds. The bounce, albeit modest for the Market Vectors Indonesia Index ETF (NYSEArca: IDX) and the iShares MSCI Indonesia ETF (NYSEArca: EIDO) comes after both funds lost more than 23% last year.
Stocks in Indonesia, Southeast Asia’s largest economy, were repudiated as the rupiah was the worst-performing emerging markets currency, a scenario that exacerbated Indonesia’s current account deficit. Indonesia’s second- and third-quarter account deficits were $9.9 billion and $8.4 billion, respectively, which spurred Bank Indonesia to hike interest rates to 7.5%. [Rate Hikes Hamper Indonesia ETFs]
There is some improving news. Central bank deputy governor Perry Warijiyo said the current-account deficit for 2013 fell to 3.5 percent of GDP, after the more aggressive central bank policy, and is hopeful that the current-account deficit could dip below 3% this year. Indonesia’s economy grew 5.7% in 2013, the slowest pace in four years. The central bank governor projects growth to fall between 5.8% to 6.2% in 2014. [Central Bank Provides Relief to Indonesia ETFs]
Since the start of 2014, EIDO and IDX have each posted modest gains, outperforming the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM) along the way. Of the major single-country ETFs tracking the 10 largest country weights in EEM, only EIDO and IDX are higher since the start of the year.