Back to top

Image: Bigstock

China ETF Winners One Year Post-Selloff

Read MoreHide Full Article

It’s been a year since China-led issues rattled the global investing world, especially the risky assets. Last August, the rout in the Chinese economy and the yuan devaluation wreaked havoc on the global market.

The tumult was triggered off on August 11 when China devalued its currency yuan, causing massive correction in the global equity market. iShares China Large-Cap ETF FXI lost about 13% from the incident til the year-end.

The U.S. stock-index futures recorded the deepest weekly decline in about four years that time, commodity prices nosedived to a 16-year low and credit risk in Asia rose to the highest level since March 2014. This even sparked off a currency war among export-centric Asian economies.

The Chinese central bank defended its currency intervention ‘as a free-market reform’ but the move was criticized by U.S. lawmakers and viewed as a mean of taking undue favor in exports. A slew of discouraging economic data from China was blamed for the weakening of yuan.

Sluggish exports, protracted slowdown in its manufacturing sector and 24-year low economic growth in 2014 made this devaluation a targeted step to boost a sagging economy, as per several market experts (read: Guide to China Yuan ETF Investing).

What’s Up This Year?

China stocks had a similar rocky start to 2016 with a trading halt on key Chinese bourses, with the indexes diving 7%. The decline was the worst single-day performance since the 8.5% decline recorded on August 24, 2015.

Investors should note that this was the first trading halt on the Chinese indexes after the Chinese securities regulators introduced a “circuit breaker” to calm the market jitters. However, with a halt causing more volatility, finally China put if off (read: China ETF Investing: Will it Buoy up or Dip Down in 2016?).

China may be leaving no stone unturned to shore up its market and the economy but there are a number of headwinds still facing the economy, including credit crunch, soaring debt and money laundering from mainland China to peripheral destinations like Macau (read: Profit from These ETFs if China Turmoil Continues).

To arrest the slowdown, China’s central bank has eased polices on several occasions. In a move to lend support to a waning economy, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) cut reserve requirement ratio (RRR) for the fifth time in a year as of February 2016 (read: ETFs to Gain from China's Added Stimulus).

Most recently, the PBOC reduced the Yuan fix by the largest amount since the Brexit referendum and China’s state council launched 45 measures enabling companies reduce costs.

Improvements So Far

While all things are yet to show a marked improvement, benefits have probably started to realize as the China economy grew 1.8% sequentially in the second quarter of 2016, better than the upwardly revised 1.2% growth in the prior quarter and ahead of market expectations of a 1.6% rise. It also marked strongest economic growth in three quarters, as per trading economics.

Another major improvement is the approval of stock-trading link between Hong Kong and the mainland city of Shenzhen – a move that will open up China’s market to foreign investors and make the stocks easily accessible. With this step, China A-shares market may expect an inclusion to the prestigious MSCI index in their 2017 review (read: MSCI versus Goldman: A-Shares ETFs in Focus).

Good news flowed in for the long-struggling manufacturing sector too. The Caixin Manufacturing PMI in China rose to 50.6 in July 2016 from 48.6 in June. It also beat market expectations of 48.7. This marked the “first month of expansion since February 2015, as output rose the most in two years and new orders expanded at the fastest pace in nearly 1-1/2-years.”

Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at ETFs that survived the Chinese market volatility in the last one year (as of August 22, 2016). Below we profile a few.


Guggenheim China Technology ETF CQQQ, KraneShares CSI China Internet ETF KWEB and Global X NASDAQ China Technology ETF QQQC added about 33.7%, 27.6% and 17.1%, respectively.


Guggenheim China Small Cap ETF , iShares MSCI China Small-Cap ETF ECNS) added about 7.5% and 7.3%, respectively.

Real Estate

Guggenheim China Real Estate ETF TAO was up 21.5%.

Ex-State-Owned Enterprises

WisdomTree China ex-State-Owned Enterprises Fund CXSE was up 17.9%.


Guggenheim China All-Cap ETF YAO and Deutsche X-trackers MSCI All China Equity ETF CN gained about 10.3% and 5.5%, respectively.

Other Winners

PowerShares Golden Dragon China Portfolio ETF PGJ rose about 20.6%, SPDR S&P China ETF GXC increased around 11.7%, Global X China Financials ETF CHIX added about 6.4%, FXI advanced roughly 5% and Global X China Consumer ETF CHIQ gained about 3%.

Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox?

Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week. Get it free >>

Published in