Amid harsh rhetoric and speculation a civil war is brewing in the eastern part of Ukraine, investors are again approaching Russia exchange traded funds in cautious fashion.
On Tuesday, the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX), the largest and most heavily traded Russia ETF, fell 2.7% on volume that was more than double the daily average. Russian equities, including many of the largest holdings in RSX and other Russia ETFs, came under pressure after media reports said policymakers in Kiev are moving to confront pro-Russian factions in Eastern Ukraine.
With Tuesday’s slide, RSX is now trading at its lowest levels in a month, though it is still up over that time, and investors have allocated no new capital to the ETF over the four-day period ending Monday, according to Bloomberg.
The sudden lack of interest in Russia ETFs comes after RSX took in nearly $300 million from March 19 through April 7. The iShares MSCI Russia Capped ETF (NYSEArca: ERUS) added $53.4 million over that time while the Direxion Daily Russia Bull 3x Shares (NYSEArca: RUSL) took in $5 million. [Bears Flee Russia ETFs]
Since the start of April, RSX has pulled in $35.6 million while ERUS has lost about $3.6 million. There is also some anecdotal evidence that interest remains high in Russia ETFs. For example, RSX has been one of the two most searched single-country ETFs on ETF Trends every week for the past five weeks. [Most Searched ETFs of the Week]
Still, Russia ETFs are locked in bear markets with RSX down 26 over the past 16 months. The Bloomberg Russia-US Equity Index has tumbled 23 percent this year, compared with a 13 percent slide for the Micex gauge in Moscow, according to Bloomberg.