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Recent ETF Activity Coincides with Regional Developments

Recent ETF Activity Coincides with Regional Developments

  • SPDR® Gold Shares have been the most active ETF in the month thus far. A WGC report yesterday noted between January and October this year, ETF holdings are down by 54 tonnes, compared with declines of 780 tonnes and 133 tonnes over the same period of 2013 and 2014 respectively.
  • China remains the focus, accounting for four of the 10 most active ETFs, as well as the three best performers in terms of month-to-date total returns.
  • In the November 2015 month-to-date, the 10 most active ETFs were SPDR® Gold Shares, iShares MSCI India Index ETF, db x-trackers FTSE Vietnam UCITS ETF, SPDR® Straits Times Index ETF, db x-trackers MSCI Indonesia Index UCITS ETF, db x-trackers FTSE China 50 UCITS ETF (DR), db x-trackers MSCI China Index UCITS ETF (DR), iShares J.P. Morgan USD Asia Credit Bond Index ETF, db x-trackers CSI 300 UCITS ETF and United SSE50 China ETF.

SPDR® Gold Shares have been the most active ETF in the month thus far. This week, the World Gold Council released their global jewelry and investment report for the September quarter. During the quarter, gold bought for investment purposes – the total of bars, coins and ETFs – increased by 27% year-on-year.

The report also noted longer term outflows from ETFs have slowed – between January and October this year, ETF holdings have fallen by 54 tonnes, compared with declines of 780 tonnes and 133 tonnes over the same period of 2013 and 2014 respectively. Investment demand accounted for approximately one-fifth of total gold demand in the last quarter. As an investment, gold is highly relevant to the region. Half the world’s demand for gold in the form of bars and coins came from India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam in the last quarter. The full report from the World Gold Council can be found here.

In terms of recent price developments, gold is hovering at five-year lows in anticipation of a rate hike by the Fed at its final policy-setting meeting next month. Fed fund futures data tracked by Bloomberg show a 66% probability of a move in December.

New York Federal Reserve President William Dudley said on Thursday conditions for a liftoff “could soon be satisfied”, and the pace of tightening should be “quite gradual”. But he stopped short of confirming that rates would be raised at next month’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

Among the 10 most active ETFs over the past week, four track the stock indices of developing Asia – India, Indonesia, China and Vietnam.

China remains the focus, accounting for four of the 10 most active ETFs, as well as the three best performers in terms of month-to-date total returns. Chinese shares have been volatile in recent sessions due to mixed data suggesting the domestic economy remains weak despite government stimulus efforts, and concerns equities may be overvalued after the Shanghai Composite Index rebounded from its August lows.

Over in India, stocks tumbled for the fifth straight day on Tuesday, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party lost state elections in Bihar, on concerns that his ability to push through policies to boost the economy would be hampered. Indian stock markets were closed for the Diwali holiday on Thursday, with partial trading on Wednesday.

Singapore’s 10 most active Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) in the November 2015 month-to-date were SPDR® Gold Shares, iShares MSCI India Index ETF, db x-trackers FTSE Vietnam UCITS ETF, SPDR® Straits Times Index ETF, db x-trackers MSCI Indonesia Index UCITS ETF, db x-trackers FTSE China 50 UCITS ETF (DR), db x-trackers MSCI China Index UCITS ETF (DR), iShares J.P. Morgan USD Asia Credit Bond Index ETF, db x-trackers CSI 300 UCITS ETF and United SSE50 China ETF.

In the month thus far, these 10 most active ETFs averaged a 0.1% decline in total return, taking the one-year and three-year total returns to 1.2% and 11.6% respectively. The 10 ETFs generated mixed performances in the month thus far, with five gainers and five decliners. The three best performers in terms of month-to-date total returns were United SSE50 China ETF, db x-trackers CSI 300 UCITS ETF and db x-trackers MSCI China Index UCITS ETF (DR).

The above-mentioned ETFs saw a 1.3% YoY increase in turnover for the month thus far, rising from S$42.4 million in the November 2014 month-to-date to S$42.9 million in the same period this year. This brings the total 12-month turnover to S$2.1 billion.

The three most active ETFs over the first nine sessions of November were SPDR® Gold Shares, iShares MSCI India Index ETF and db x-trackers FTSE Vietnam UCITS ETF.

The 10 most active ETFs in the November 2015 month-to-date are detailed below and sorted by MTD turnover.

Name Stock Code Price ($) MTD Turnover 2015 ($) MTD Turnover 2014 ($) 12M Turnover ($)
SPDR® Gold Shares O87 103.88 14,018,933 21,702,158 490,444,961
iShares MSCI India Index ETF I98 6.66 10,040,751 7,263,512 642,358,873
db x-trackers FTSE Vietnam UCITS ETF HD9 23.39 4,652,047 1,509,690 60,418,121
SPDR® Straits Times Index ETF ES3 2.98 3,848,047 3,134,910 391,466,329
db x-trackers MSCI Indonesia Index UCITS ETF KJ7 11.27 2,727,133 2,613,169 81,112,249
db x-trackers FTSE China 50 UCITS ETF (DR) HD8 31.41 2,145,307 531,598 79,719,746
db x-trackers MSCI China Index UCITS ETF (DR) LG9 13.16 2,078,720 1,308,909 84,054,704
iShares J.P. Morgan USD Asia Credit Bond Index ETF N6M 10.38 1,323,749 633,478 51,102,217
db x-trackers CSI 300 UCITS ETF KT4 9.98 1,103,364 2,430,347 114,746,900
United SSE50 China ETF JK8 2.50 977,609 1,255,558 97,437,818

Source: SGX (data as of 12 November 2015)

Name Stock Code Total Return MTD (%) Total return 12M (%) 3 Year Total Return Annualized (%) 3 Year Total Return (%) 30 day Volatility (%)
SPDR® Gold Shares O87 -5.5 -6.7 -14.8 -38.0 14.4
iShares MSCI India Index ETF I98 -5.5 -13.5 3.1 9.7 15.5
db x-trackers FTSE Vietnam UCITS ETF HD9 -3.1 -20.1 5.2 16.5 20.5
SPDR® Straits Times Index ETF ES3 -2.0 -7.2 2.0 7.2 15.9
db x-trackers MSCI Indonesia Index UCITS ETF KJ7 0.7 -20.8 -9.7 -26.5 43.9
db x-trackers FTSE China 50 UCITS ETF (DR) HD8 0.7 -1.3 4.2 13.1 21.5
db x-trackers MSCI China Index UCITS ETF (DR) LG9 0.8 -0.2 4.6 14.4 22.7
iShares J.P. Morgan USD Asia Credit Bond Index ETF N6M -1.0 1.5 3.5 10.9 6.2
db x-trackers CSI 300 UCITS ETF KT4 6.2 32.9 13.5 46.1 30.3
United SSE50 China ETF JK8 8.2 47.1 17.5 62.3 32.8
Average   -0.1 1.2 2.9 11.6 22.4

Source: SGX (data as of 12 November 2015)

ETFs are investment funds listed and traded intraday on a stock exchange. The majority aim to track the performance of an index and provide access to a wide variety of markets and asset classes, including local stocks, international securities, bonds, commodities or money markets.

Each ETF gives investors access to the performance of the asset that comprises the underlying index. Investing in the ETF is also less costly if one was to build a similar portfolio by buying the individual stocks. It also provides exposure to international markets and asset classes that may be inaccessible to individual investors.

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Geoff Howie
Geoff Howie

Mr Howie is the Singapore Exchange's Market Strategist - and the key contributor to the educational content and market insights of SGX My Gateway. He is also part of the Associate Faculty at SIM University,  educating students on the fundamentals of investing. 

He previously held lead broking and strategist roles across the Asia Pacific offices of a large international futures broker. Outside of his 15 year career in the financial markets he has also served as the Treasury Adviser to the Leader of the Queensland Liberal Party in Queensland Parliament.

Following High School in Hong Kong, he attended University of Queensland, receiving a Bachelors and Master's degree in Economics, the latter extending into deferred PhD work after receiving the highest grading for first-mover research and modelling conducted on the Shanghai economy.

Mr Howie's other notable achievements include receiving two Hong Kong Securities Institute Outstanding Achievers awards for the 2005 year.