It is becoming increasingly difficult to find pockets of strength in the developing world. Latin American stocks are in the midst of a dismal multi-year stretch and China’s recent currency devaluation has plagued numerous emerging Asia markets and exchange traded funds.
However, Eastern European markets are proving somewhat durable relative to their other emerging markets counterparts.
“These are small nations, but in aggregate they boast well over 100 million in total population and north of $1 trillion in gross domestic product, roughly equal to Turkey and South Africa combined. Annual growth rates are running at 3% to 4%, debt is low, and current account balances are fast improving. The Polish zloty and other regional currencies held steady during the recent global yuan tantrum,” reports Craig Mellow for Barron’s.
Though not homes to noteworthy performances this year, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Eastern Europe Index Fund ETF (NYSEArca: ESR) and SPDR S&P Emerging Europe ETF (NYSEArca: GUR) have each outperformed the MSCI Emerging Markets Index.
While that benchmark has tanked 16.6%, GUR is off 12.8% and ESR has managed a small year-to-date gain of 0.2%. Eastern European markets have some advantages compared to other developing economies, namely lack of dependence on commodities, a trait that obviously excludes Russia. [Eastern Europe ETFs Hold Steady]