Scores of exchange traded funds reacted favorably to the European Central Bank’s January announcement that it will purchase 60 billion euros worth of government and agency bonds through September 2016.
In particular, the ECB’s quantitative easing plans have fueled asset growth for diversified ETFs with heavy Eurozone exposure, including the WisdomTree Europe Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: HEDJ), Deutsche X-Trackers MSCI Europe Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBEU) and the Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBEF). [The Right Currency Hedged ETF Right Now]
Germany ETFs, of which there are three U.S.-listed euro hedged funds, have predictably enjoyed the weaker euro and the ECB’s commitment to keeping the common currency low. That includes the Deutsche X-trackers MSCI Germany Hedged Equity Fund (NYSEArca: DBGR), which though starting from a lower base, is part of the group of rapidly-growing currency hedged ETFs. More importantly, there are credible reasons to consider German equities with a euro hedge.
“The euro’s depreciation against the US dollar enhances the price competitiveness of products made in Germany. This benefits above all export-intensive sectors that sell a substantial volume of products outside the eurozone and/or have a large share of domestic value added. Some examples include the automotive, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and chemical industries. Certain upstream industries also benefit indirectly, such as metals and plastics. The export-intensive pharmaceuticals industry is also a beneficiary of the weak euro,” said Deutsche Bank in a recent research note.
Underscoring DBGR’s leverage to the weak euro theme, the allocates a combined 45% of its weight to the export-intensive materials and consumer discretionary sectors with another 11.2% devoted to industrials. The ETF’s materials weight is significant on another front: Low oil prices. German materials manufacturers are generally net importers, indicating that the Eurozone’s largest economy is a beneficiary of oil’s slide.
“In 2014, three of the four most important foreign markets for German pharmaceuticals companies were outside the eurozone, these being the US, the UK and Switzerland. The sharp appreciation in the Swiss franc is particularly beneficial to German pharmaceuticals manufacturers. True, German companies will have to start paying more for imports from outside the eurozone due to the weaker euro. On balance, though, the effects of the weaker euro are positive for domestic production,” adds Deutsche Bank. [Don’t Forget These Currency Hedged ETFs]