The Cost (Benefit) of Currency-Hedged International ETFs

Looking at DBEF’s underlying MSCI EAFE currencies, we see that five of the 12 developed market currencies show negative one-month deposit rates, including a -0.17% rate for the euro, which makes up 30.4% of the EAFE index, a -0.21% rate on the Japanese yen, which is 24.2% of the index, and -0.74% rate on the Swiss franc, which is 9.3% of the benchmark.

More importantly, most foreign currency rates to the USD show a positive spread – the U.S. dollar rate is higher than the foreign rates, which provides a positive cost to carry, or a benefit, for hedged investors. Specifically, among the top four currency exposures, which make up 83% of the EAFE Index’s weighting, the EUR shows a +0.70% spread to USD, JPY shows a +0.74% spread to the USD, the GBP has a +0.03% spread to the USD and the CHF has a +1.27% spread to the USD.

“Anytime the U.S. dollar rate is higher than the foreign rate (the ‘Spread to USD’ row is positive) then there will be a positive cost of carry,” the Deutsche strategists added. “Or, to put it another way, the investor gets paid to hedge.”

Currently, investors with currency-hedged developed EAFE market exposure are receiving a positive cost of carry from each of the four biggest currencies in the international basket.

Deutsche X-trackers MSCI EAFE Hedged Equity ETF