EMB, the largest and most liquid emerging market bond ETF, tracks the J.P. Morgan EMBI Global Core Index, a market-cap-weighted index. Potential investors should note that since it is a cap-weighted index, countries with greater debt will have a larger position in the portfolio. The ETF, though, employs country constraints to ensure diversification and moderate exposure to heavily indebted countries. Top country weights include Mexico 6.9%, Russia 5.4%, Indonesia 5.3%, Turkey 5.1% and Philippines 5.1%. Investors may also be surprised to find that the majority of credit issued is investment-grade, including AA 2.2%, A 12.4% and BBB 42.2%, along with some speculative-grade BB 19.2%, B 16.1%, CCC 5.3% and D 2.6%. EMB has a 7.1 year duration and a 4.98% 30-day SEC yield.
Alternative to EMB’s cap-weighted indexing methodology, PCY tracks the DB Emerging Market USD Liquid Balanced Index, which equally weights bonds so that each country has an equal weighting. Top country weights include Brazil 3.6%, Colombia 3.6%, Indonesia 3.6%, Mexico 3.5% and Peru 3.4%. Credit quality includes AA 6%, A 10%, BBB 37%, B 17% and CCC 3%. The ETF has a 8.43 year duration and a 5.39% 30-day SEC yield.
With many emerging market central banks cutting interest rates amid lower inflation, the loose monetary policies should help support many local rates markets.
Consequently, investors may also take a look at local currency-denominated ETFs, or emerging market bond ETFs that are issued in their local currencies, including the VanEck Vectors Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond ETF (NYSEArca: EMLC) and actively managed WisdomTree Emerging Markets Local Debt Fund (NYSEArca: ELD).
EMCL, which tracks the J.P. Morgan GBI-EMG Core Index, tracks local bond markets in emerging economies, including Poland 9.2%, Mexico 8.9%, Brazil 8.4%, Malaysia 8.2% and Indonesia, among others. Credit quality is also higher, with AAA 6.6%, AA 3.1%, A 29.7%, BBB 32.3% and BB 16.3%. The ETF comes with a 4.83 year duration and a 5.85% 30-day SEC yield.
ELD is an actively managed ETF that focuses on local debt denominated in currencies of emerging market countries, including Brazil 12.0%, Poland 9.9%, Mexico 9.8%, Russia 7.3% and Colombia 7.0%. Credit breakdown includes AAA 5.7%, AA 12.6%, A 39.9%, 40.6% BBB and 0.5% B.
The actively managed component may also help the ETF more quickly adapt to changes in central bank policies or currency fluctuations. ELD has a 4.84 duration and a 5.75% 30-day SEC yield.
For more news on Emerging Market ETFs, visit our Emerging Market category.