After finishing 2014 among the worst-performing single-country emerging markets exchange traded funds, Russia ETFs have turned into leaders this year and investors are noticing.
Up 18.7% year-to-date, the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX), the largest and most heavily traded Russia, saw its shares outstanding tally jump “14 percent from mid-February to 107.3 million at the end of the month, driving its total assets to $1.88 billion,” reports Elena Popina for Bloomberg.
RSX’s 18.7% gain this year easily makes it the top performer among the four major single-country BRIC ETFs. Adding up the gains for the WisdomTree India Earnings Fund (NYSEArca: EPI) and the iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI) produces a number that is 300 basis points below RSX’s 2015 performance. The iShares MSCI Brazil Capped ETF (NYSEArca: EWZ) has traded lower this year. [Bullish on Russia ETFs]
Of those four ETFs, only EPI and RSX have seen year-to-date inflows with the Russia ETF adding $120.3 million this year, or $17 million more than has flowed into EPI. A year, RSX and rival Russia ETFs plunged after the country invaded neighboring Ukraine. This year, another fragile ceasefire there has lifted Russian equities.
Ebullience toward Russian equities comes as ratings agencies are feeling anything but cheery about Russian debt. Last month, Moody’s Investors Service lowered its rating on Russia’s sovereign debt to junk status.