The iShares MSCI Hong Kong ETF (NYSEArca: EWH) has been struggling alongside other China-related exchange traded funds for over a month and that is prompting some traders to make bearish bets on the largest Hong Kong ETF.
Count EWH among the exchange traded funds that have been punished in the wake of China’s decision earlier this month to devalue its currency, the yuan. Global financial markets have been roiled after China let its renminbi currency depreciate, and some Asian emerging markets, along with country-specific exchange traded funds, will continue to feel the consequences of the weaker yuan.
A depreciating yuan makes Chinese exports more competitive in international markets. However, the beggar-thy-neighbor policy will negatively affect the country’s major trading partners. [Yuan Slide Slams EM ETFs]
“optionMONSTER’s Depth Charge system shows that 5,000 March 13 puts were purchased for $0.17 today. This is a new position, as there was no open interest before the trade occurred,” according to OptionMonster. “Long puts lock in the price where a stock can be sold no matter how far it might drop, gaining value in a selloff. The contracts can be purchased either as an outright bearish bet or a hedge on a long-stock position.”
EWH also has to contend with U.S. interest rate policy because the Hong Kong dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar. Additionally, the ETF’s significant finance, real estate, and construction makes its vulnerable to changes in Fed policy. The Chinese territory has an AAA credit rating.