Emerging Markets ETFs Down Again on China Data

Joel Anderson |

2014 has already proven a bad year for emerging market equities, and Thursday brought another day with stories that are now familiar: emerging market ETFs fall on plunging equities in China and Brazil. The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets Index ETF (EEM) fell just over 1.25 percent in early trading before recovering to losses just under 1 percent.

Driving losses was clearly some of the same culprits that have been in the news since mid-December: China, Brazil, and Turkey.

The iShares FTSE China 25 Index ETF (FXI) was off as much as 2.38 percent before recovering to losses just under 2 percent by early afternoon. The iShares MSCI China Index Fund (MCHI) was also down, losing more than 1.5 percent in early trading. The iShares MSCI Brazil Index ETF ($EWZ) plunged over 2 percent, and the iShares MSCI Turkey Index ETF (TUR) was off around 1.25 percent.

China Stocks Fall to Five-Month Low

The Chinese equities market continues to fall due to a variety of economic figures that indicate contracting growth. The Shanghai Shenzen CSI 300 Index is off almost 9.5 percent in the last month alone.

“China is slowing down; what they don’t want is a hard landing,” said Prudential Financial market strategist Quincy Krosby to Bloomberg by phone. “There’s also an adjustment process as the Fed begins to taper. As the data begin to gain more traction than initially expected, you’d have the Treasury market making adjustments, and that has ramifications in the emerging markets.”

Driving today’s decline could be a few different factors. December inflation numbers showed the rate declining to 2.5 percent in December from 3 percent in November, potentially another sign of an economic slowdown.

Prices could also be depressed in anticipation of a flood of pending IPOs.

“There are many new stocks that will be released so there are liquidity concerns,” said Tebon Securities analyst Zhang Haidong. “There may be 50 new IPOs in January -- this is going to add pressure and weigh on the market.”

Brazil Stocks Follow China

And in another familiar move, declining economic prospects in China led to declining prospects in Brazil, which exports materials to China. The Ibovespa Brasil Sao Paolo Exchange Index fell almost 2.5 percent, marking a decline of over 10 percent since late October.

"Inflation came in lower-than-expected in China, which means a slowdown in consumption. Metal shares are down in Europe, which impacts steelmakers and metal producers here," said Renascença DTVM trader Luiz Roberto Monteiro.

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