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The week ahead with Tim Seymour – EM flows in reverse

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Emerging markets funds lost $1.64 billion from their investor accounts last week, but the question for traders is now whether this is just a trickle over the wall or a more serious break in the dike. Last week's redemptions pulled 0.23% of the assets out of all emerging markets ETFs and mutual funds from giant EEM ( quote ) on down, leaving the asset class coping with a net $7.5 billion in outflows since the start of the year. This was the first week of negative flows since late March. Analysts attribute the reversal to a broader reassessment of commodity stories and global growth prospects, so in that respect this may not be an isolated one-week event. In fact, if we drill beneath the headlines, most of the redemptions came from institutions swapping their ETF allocations. This is generally the first sign that the wind is blowing in a different direction -- and as the flows cycle out into the slower-moving mutual funds, the trend could continue. I personally think this will be an 8-week cycle of redemptions, which would take us into mid-July before the big money swings back into emerging markets. In the meantime, emerging markets still offer a superior credit story and on the whole a superior growth footprint over the long term. These are still strategic opportunities. But look at some of the specific regions that were the world's darlings just a few months ago. Russia-focused funds like RSX ( quote ) lost $353 million -- the biggest move out since June 2006. (That was a tough month to be trading. I was in Moscow at the time and we saw an overall drawdown of 31% of all fund assets out of the country in just five weeks.) All in all, $30 billion of domestic capital has fled Russia so far this year. This is not counting foreign investors who moved in starting last summer and then really started flocking to the Moscow market right after Christmas, but are now nervous despite a mid-week bounce. EMEA funds -- tracking emerging Europe, the Middle East and Africa -- are also suffering from a combination of factors. You can point to gold prices hurting sentiment for EZA ( quote ) and other South African funds or the ongoing slow-motion crisis in the euro zone hurting GUR ( quote ) and other funds exposed to Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic, but either way, flows to this region are at their worst since the peak of the credit crunch back in October 2008. Asia is also feeling the pressure. China funds like FXI ( quote ) saw their biggest negative flows since February -- and even markets that looked unstoppable like Vietnam VNM ( quote ) gave back money last week. Scattered winners include Thailand ( THD, ( quote ), Taiwan ( EWT, ( quote ) and a lot of Latin markets, from Brazil ( EWZ, ( quote ) to Peru ( EPU, ( quote ) and Colombia ( GXG, ( quote ).

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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