Colombia, Mexico Make 'Fragile Five' EM ETFs List | ETF Trends

Emerging market exchange traded fund investors should closely monitor their Colombia and Mexico exposure as the two economies join the infamous list of “fragile five” emerging countries.

According to JPMorgan Asset management, Colombia and Mexico are now members of the so-called fragile five group of emerging markets, edging out Brazil and India, reports Steven Johnson for the Financial Times.

The two Latin American countries, along with Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia, are seen as developing countries overdependent on volatile foreign investment flows. The original fragile five were among the worst off during the taper tantrum of 2013 when foreign investors pulled out of the emerging markets.

In the event of another taper tantrum event, Colombia and Mexico may be among the most exposed to a shift to safety.

The two Latin American markets have been under pressure. Year-to-date, the Global X FTSE Colombia 20 ETF (NYSEArca: GXG) plunged 28.3% and the iShares MSCI Colombia Capped ETF (NYSEArca: ICOL) plummeted 28.0%.

Colombia’s market has been retreating in response to the country’s heavy dependence on oil exports. ICOL includes a 14.3% tilt toward the energy sector and GXG holds about 15.5% energy.

Additionally, Colombia’s peso currency has depreciated 36% against the U.S. dollar over the past 12 months. GXG and ICOL do not hedge currency risk, so the depreciating peso has further weighed on returns when converted back to the dollar.