Since 2009, emerging markets payouts have more than doubled and the trend of developing world dividend is continuing again this year.
Emerging markets dividend, albeit slight in so markets, is an impressive feat this year considering weakness across some major developing world currencies and a bear market, in dollar terms, for Russian stocks. Russia, once viewed as a potentially significant driver of future emerging markets dividend growth, could see that growth stymied in the wake of economic sanctions from the West. [Sanctions Could Pressure Russia ETFs’ Dividends]
Those factors and others make country selection with emerging market dividend ETFs a critical evaluation tool. Although it is down 1% this year, the EGShares EM Dividend High Income ETF (NYSEArca: EMHD) has been solid impressive among multi-country emerging markets ETFs, dividend or otherwise.
EMHD tries to reflect the performance of the FTSE Equal Weighted Emerging All Cap ex Taiwan Diversified Dividend Yield 50 Index, which equally weights the 50 highest yielding emerging market stocks from the FTSE Emerging All Cap ex Taiwan Universe. The exclusion of Taiwan in an emerging markets dividend ETF would appear to be a curious phenomenon because the country has one of the most dependable and favorable dividend policies in the developing world, but lacking Taiwan has not been a problem for EMHD, an ETF with a dividend yield of 6%.
The ETF allocates 20% of its weight to China, the largest emerging markets dividend payer in dollar terms. Combined, another 30.2% goes to Brazil and South Africa, two markets that have been able to muster decent payout growth this year despite weakness in the real and rand. [EM Dividends Keep Emerging]
“EMHD has done well versus the competition while the U.S. dollar rallied. If the U.S. dollar is entering a bull market, this could mean EMHD does well for years, but it won’t be clear until after a rebalancing whether this outperformance is a short-term phenomena based on current holdings, or whether EMHD’s indexing strategy will perform better under strong dollar conditions,” notes Matthew Sauer in a Seeking Alpha post.