The financial crisis sweeping through Europe is again dominating headlines and weighing on investors.
Although the turmoil in Greece, France, Germany and the rest of the euro monetary bloc will steal attention in the days ahead, I encourage investors to avoid being distracted from other events taking place elsewhere around the globe.
While Europe is under a deluge of dismal market-related news, other closely watched global players have actually enjoyed some promising economic data during the past few days.
China, for example, started off the week on a relatively positive note. For weeks doubts have swirled around this Asian economic superpower as economists, analysts and investors have begun to question its ability to maintain a persistent level of breakneck economic growth. Fears of a hard landing have loomed heavily as nations around the world have witnessed a slowdown in economic growth.
Despite these fears, there have been signs that China's feared hard landing may not be in the cards. On the contrary, at the start of this week the nation released promising trade data, indicated that there is fuel left in its growth tank. According to the report, the nation's imports saw a notable rise, while its overall trade surplus shrank considerably.
The road ahead will likely not be entirely smooth for China. However, as evidenced by this data, it may not be as rocky as previously expected either. ETF investors with a tolerance for risk may want to place China-related funds on the radar.
Already, the ETF investing public appears to be showing an interest in the nation. According to the data compiled by the National Stock Exchange, the iShares FTSE China 25 Index Fund welcomed more than $350 million in August. This not only earned the fund a spot among the top 25 inflow recipients overall; FXI also saw the heaviest inflows across the entire universe of international equity ETFs.
FXI was not alone in its popularity. Other China-related ETFs like the SPDR S&P China ETF enjoyed net inflows as well. This action flies in the face of the general attitude towards emerging markets in August.
ETFs including the iShares MSCI Hong Kong Index Fund , iShares MSCI Taiwan Index Fund , Market Vectors Russia ETF and iShares MSCI Mexico Investable Market Index Fund saw millions head towards the exits as investors fled risky corners of the globe.
While FXI won investors' hearts during the final weeks of summer, I do not see this fund as the best option for investors looking to gain true exposure to the Chinese marketplace. Given the fund's expansive exposure to large, state-owned, and multinational firms, investors gain little access to the nation's domestic economy. Those looking to tap into China's growing consumer class should turn to the small-cap focused Guggenheim China Small Cap ETF.
In the week ahead, expect the media to swarm around the turmoil facing the European Union and other troubled members of the developed world. While exciting to watch, it is important to note that the EU is just one part of the global economic pie. It may not get as much time in the spotlight, but China's hardy economic growth picture is another story to keep a close watch on.
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