Australia's Attractive Valuations

Exchange traded funds tracking equities in developed markets outside the U.S. have been getting plenty of attention this year. Japan ETFs have been in the spotlight due to a rising yen that is seen as negative for Japanese stocks.

Likewise, Europe ETFs have been punished by Brexit and the ongoing disappointments delivered by the European Central Bank, which has not delivered enough in the way of added stimulus to appease global investors. All the while, the iShares MSCI Australia ETF (NYSEArca: EWA) is higher by nearly 6%.

Related: Aussie Dollar ETF Plunges as Reserve Bank Cuts Rates

Although EWA is not a currency hedged ETF, one of the reasons it might be moving higher is the Reserve Bank of Australia’s (RBA) consistently loose monetary policy. RBA recently cut Australia’s benchmark interest rates to a record low. However, EWA, which is not a currency hedged ETF, has performed well in the face of RBA rate cuts.

Australia’s benchmark interest rate of 1.75 percent is a record low for the country, but well above most other developed markets, indicating there is room for further downside. Importantly, some market observers view Australian stocks as attractively valued, a bonus when considering the world’s 12th-largest economy has not seen a recession in a quarter century.


“We feel there is a reasonable chance of a >10 percent total return in the next 12 months thanks to a resurgence in the banks’ popularity with investors,” according to a Seeking Alpha analysis of EWA.