When it comes to emerging market exchange traded funds, investors were better off being picky, instead of taking on broad exposure to the developing economies.
Investors are picking and choosing their country exposure one at a time, with South-East Asian countries outperforming the broader emerging markets, especially Thailand and the Philippines, writes Alen Mattich for the Wall Street Journal.
For instance, the SPDR S&P Emerging Asia Pacific ETF (NYSEArca: GMF), which follows emerging Asian economies, is up 10.7% year-to-date, while the iShares MSCI Philippines ETF (NYSEArca: EPHE) jumped 21.2% and the iShares MSCI Thailand Capped ETF (NYSEArca: THD) surged 21.4%. [Emerging Asia ETFs Can Shake Off Effects of Rising U.S. Rates]
The Philippine economy is strengthening on increased spending in infrastructure, higher remittance from overseas workers and greater local consumption, which accounts for just under two-thirds of the economy. [Philippines ETF Shines in Emerging Asia]
Meanwhile, investors have grown more confident in Thailand’s stable economic outlook after the military took control. Thailand’s economy and incomes have historically expanded faster and remained more stable under the three times the military led government, compared to the nine civilian ones. [Thailand Stocks, ETF Flourish Under Military Rule]
In contrast, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (NYSEArca: EEM), which tracks the MSCI EM Index, is down 1.2% so far this year.
The emerging markets are susceptible to capital flight, falling currencies, rising inflation, aggressive policy changes and political volatility. Consequently, investors should take a closer look at each country before making a decision.