International investing has been extremely upbeat lately on the improving health of several economies. Policy easing has played a major role in driving global economic growth over the last couple of quarters. Be it Euro zone or emerging markets – all overseas regions grabbed investors’ attention in the second quarter.
First of all, most developed economies – that faced deflationary threats so long – are slowly returning to the inflationary track. Notably, Japan and the Euro zone are still pursuing an ultra-easy monetary policy along with quantitative easing. A wave of cheap money in these international nations have stepped up economic activities, and increased business and consumer confidence.
Also, a pickup in economic activity in many parts of the world, robust corporate earnings and lower-than-expected political upheaval in Europe have led to this outperformance. Additionally, the fading Trump rally pushed investors to foreign stocks from the U.S.
Meanwhile, the Euro zone silently surpassed the U.S. economy on the growth front in 2016. The ECB projected Euro Area’s growth at 1.9% in 2017, 1.8% in 2018 and 1.7% in 2019 (read: Currency Hedged Europe ETFs to Buy on ECB Meet).
Japanese economic growth outlook, though still not-steady, is a positive. Japan’s core inflation (excluding food) increased for the fifth successive quarter in May 2017. It grew 0.4% in the month compared with 0.3% in April, marking the quickest clip in more than two years (read: Japan Economy on the Mend? ETFs in Focus).
On the other hand, emerging market growth prospects also remained steady in that frame. Some of other reasons for this outperformance were a subdued greenback, commodity market strength and policy easing in several EM economies (read: Top Emerging Market ETFs of First Half 2017).
Overall, all world ETF iShares MSCI ACWI ETF ACWI) added 4.7% in Q2 while the key U.S. ETF SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY - Free Report) advanced about 3.3%. Europe ETF Vanguard FTSE Europe ETF (VGK - Free Report) jumped 8.9%, emerging market fund iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM - Free Report) gained about 5%, iShares Asia 50 ETF (AIA - Free Report) gained 8% andiShares MSCI All Country Asia ex Japan ETF (AAXJ - Free Report) added over 6.8%. This clearly shows the upper hand that international equities enjoyed in Q2.
While there have been winners in many corners of the world, we highlight three ETFs that topped the list in the second quarter.
Global X MSCI Greece ETF (GREK - Free Report) – Up 28.6%
The Greek economy grew 0.4% sequentially in the first quarter of 2017, higher than the preliminary estimates of 0.1% shrinkage and a downwardly revised 1.1% decline in the previous quarter. The economy’s credit rating recently got an upgrade from Moody’s, following which its 10-year borrowing costs plunged to their lowest level since 2009.
“Moody's expects to see growth this year and next, after three years of stagnation and a cumulative loss in output of more than 27 percent since the onset of Greece's crisis," the agency said as per the article published on CNBC. As a result, GREK gained 28.6% in the last three months (as of July 5).
iShares MSCI Turkey ETF (TUR - Free Report) – Up 18.1%
Turkish investments offered great returns on economic improvement and lesser political upheaval. The economy advanced 5% year over year in the first quarter of 2017, beating market expectations of a 4% rise. The World Bank also upped Turkey’s economic growth projections for the upcoming three years on lower uncertainty, an uptick in tourism and improving corporate balance sheets. TUR gained 18.1% in the last three months (as of July 5).
iShares MSCI Austria Capped ETF (EWO - Free Report) – Up 17.7%
Austria's economy grew 2.3% year over year in Q1 of 2017, following a 1.7% rise in the prior period and coming in higher than the initial estimate of 2% expansion. Austria's two main economic think tanks recently beefed up the country's economic growth forecast for this year and the next, indicating higher domestic demand and an upbeat global economy that are likely to boost exports. EWO gained 17.7% in the last three months (as of July 5).
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