In what was a brutal September for emerging markets exchange traded funds with the Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: VWO) and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM) declining an average of 8%, the BRIC nations stood out as particularly egregious offenders.
Due in large parts to the new bear markets for the iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) and the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX), BRIC stocks slid with the iShares MSCI BRIC ETF (NYSEArca: BKF) losing 9.6% last month. [Brazil, Russia ETFs Flirt With Bear Markets]
Some emerging markets ETFs were notably less bad last month, including the SPDR MSCI EM Beyond BRIC ETF (NYSEArca: EMBB). No, EMBB was not much to write home about in September with a decline of 5.8%, but the thinly traded fund, sharply outperformed its aforementioned, broad and BRIC-focused rivals.
EMBB and its rival, the EGShares Beyond BRICs ETF (NYSEArca: BBRC), have been this road before. The pair were significantly less bad than BRIC-heavy emerging markets ETFs when stocks in developing economies cratered in January. [Beyond BRIC ETFs Still Less Bad]
The reasons for EMBB’s relative durability in times of duress for emerging markets stocks are not secrets. EMBB’s advantage comes from a nearly 30% combined weight to Taiwan and South Korea, two of the least volatile emerging markets. Exposure to South Korea, Asia’s fourth-largest economy, is particularly important as highlighted not only by EMBB’s September performance, but a comparison of EEM and VWO as well.
EEM and EMBB tracks an MSCI index. MSCI classifies South Korea as an emerging market. FTSE, the provider VWO’s underlying index, rightly some would argue, views South Korea as a developed market. Maintaining South Korea exposure helped EMBB and EEM outperform VWO in September.