One of the more interesting anecdotes from the financial media world Tuesday came courtesy of Bloomberg, which reported that oil’s tumble has erased $1.3 trillion in value from investments all over the world.
It is reasonable to expect some of that $1.3 trillion has come out of Russian stocks and the corresponding exchange traded funds listed in the U.S. After all, Russia is the largest non-OPEC oil-producing country in the world, so with the United States Brent Oil Fund (NYSEArca: BNO) off 13.3% over the past month, it is not a stunning revelation that the Market Vectors Russia ETF (NYSEArca: RSX) is lower by nearly 5% over the same period.
The combination of a weakening energy outlook and the depreciating currencies are dragging on the ETFs that cover the major exporting countries. For instance, the energy sector makes up more than 405 of the portfolio in RSX, the largest and most heavily traded Russia ETF.
In June, the Bank of Russia cut its one-week auction to 11.5% from 12.5%. Just six months ago, Russia’s central bank boosted its benchmark interest rate to 17% from 10.5%. However, rising inflation there is seen as a hurdle to additional easing. Last week, the Bank of Russia estimated June inflation to be 15.6%. [Russia Economy, ETFs on the Mend]
However, investors are paying more attention to oil prices as a determinant of RSX’s near-term price action and they don’t like what they see as RSX lost nearly $35 million in assets last week.
“Investors, who had been returning to Russia after the world’s biggest stock slump in 2014, are pulling back as Brent plunged into a bear market and a selloff in the ruble wiped out most of its gains for this year,” reports Elena Popina for Bloomberg.