Amid Rally, Cash Still Departing Emerging Markets ETFs

The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM) and a host of previously downtrodden single-country emerging markets ETFs have rallied over the past month, but investors appear apprehensive regarding the near- to medium-term fortunes of developing world equity markets.

“Withdrawals from U.S.-based ETFs investing in emerging-market equities and bonds totaled $11.3 billion this year, already surpassing the redemption of $8.8 billion” for all of last year, report Ye Xie and Elena Popina for Bloomberg.

On a more positive note, outflows from emerging markets ETFs are ebbing compared to January. Hampered by weak Chinese economic data and escalating concerns about external financing vulnerabilities, emerging markets ETFs bled assets in January. The total lost equity-based emerging markets funds, according to BlackRock, was $10 billion. [ETFs Lose $10 Billion in January]

Although each of the 10 worst non-leveraged ETFs on a year-to-date basis are emerging markets ETFs, including five with exposure to Latin America, just two ETFs tracking developing world stocks rank among the 10 worst ETFs in terms of 2014 outflows. [Mexico ETF is a Mess]

Amid political violence in countries such as Ukraine and Venezuela, investors have pulled money from emerging markets debt funds. However, ETFs with large exposures to those countries have held up relatively well. For example, the ProShares Short Term USD Emerging Market Bond ETF (BATS: EMSH) allocates almost 28% of its combined weight to Russia, Ukraine and Venezuela, but the ETF is off less than 1% this year.