Broadly speaking, emerging markets equities and exchange traded funds were solid performers last year. For example, the widely followed MSCI Emerging Markets Index gained almost 11%.
That is impressive when considering the largest emerging market, that being China, was an obvious laggard. The iShares China Large-Cap ETF (NYSEArca: FXI), the largest China ETF trading in the U.S., gained just 1.1% in 2016 while the Deutsche X-trackers Harvest CSI 300 China A-Shares Fund (NYSEArca: ASHR) tumbled 15.6%.
ASHR is the largest US-listed ETF tracking A-shares, the stocks trading on China’s mainland exchanges in Shanghai and Shenzhen. Chinese A-Shares are a specific class of equity securities issued by Chinese companies and denominated in RMB. Under current Chinese regulations, foreign investors may access A-Shares if they are a designated foreign institutional investor or gained access through either the Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (QFII) or a Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) programs.
After disappointing last year, China ETFs could have better things in store for investors in 2017.