With a year-to-date loss of nearly 10%, it is fair to say the iShares MSCI Philippines ETF (NYSEArca: EPHE) has been a disappointment among single-country emerging markets exchange traded funds this year.
The lone Philippines ETF can be seen as a 2015 dud because it started the year on a strong note, rising as oil prices tumbled. In the case of the Philippines, the country imports nearly all of its oil use, meaning EPHE is one emerging markets ETF that should benefit from lower fuel prices.
“The Philippines has favorable prospects for strong economic growth, and as a net oil importer, stands to benefit from a prolonged period of lower oil prices via lower inflation and a compression of its import bill,” according to Moody’s Investors Service.
Moody’s also said that the outlook for Philippine banks remains positive on the back of its robust economic growth and strong banking-sector fundamentals and that government spending on infrastructure projects will provide the tailwind for higher growth, according to Emerging Equity.
For 2015, Morgan Stanley “said the Philippines was the best-positioned market due to its ample liquidity, strong forecast gross domestic product growth and low levels of credit penetration,” reports The Star.
A stronger U.S. dollar is helping Philippine stocks beyond lower oil prices. Foreign remittances are now worth more when converted into pesos, helping boost the local economy.