The Bank of Korea, South Korea’s central bank, joined the spate of global central banks lowering interest rates when pared borrowing costs to a record low of 1.75% earlier Thursday.
In becoming at least the 24th central bank to lower rates this year, and one of a growing number of emerging markets central banks to do so, Bank of Korea surprised economists as just two of 17 surveyed by Bloomberg forecast a rate cut.
Currency hedged South Korea exchange traded funds are experiencing mixed reactions to BOK’s surprise rate cut. For example, the Deutsche X-trackers MSCI South Korea Hedged Equity ETF (NYSEArca: DBKO) is trading slightly lower today though volume in that ETF is more than seven times the daily average. On light volume, DBKO’s rival, theWisdomTree Korea Hedged Equity Fund (NasdaqGM: DXKW), is trading modestly higher. [Put South Korea ETFs on Your 2015 Lists]
As has been seen across the currency hedged ETF landscape this year, South Korea hedged ETFs are easily topping their non-hedged peers as the U.S. dollar strengthens. Entering Thursday, South Korea’s won was down 3.5% this year against the greenback, helping DBKO and DXKW to year-to-date gains of 2.8% and 7.5%, respectively, while the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWY) is up just 0.8%.
DXKW is the older of the two South Korea hedged ETFs with a November 2013 debut date. DBKO, which debuted in January 2014, is the larger of the pair with $64.1 million. Combined, the two ETFs have just under $84 million in assets under management, but there are catalysts in place that could give tactical investors reasons to consider currency hedged exposure to Asia’s fourth-largest economy.