Can China ETFs Keep It Rolling In 2018? (FXI)

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December 12, 2017 6:32am NYSE:FXI

Image of a traditional Chinese building

From Zacks: The Chinese government has been facing challenges in addressing property market speculation and high debt. At the Congress meeting in October, Chinese policymakers indicated a shift of agenda to check pollution and financial risks to economic growth, at any cost.


This led to an initial slowdown in growth. However, worries seem to be easing, as the world’s second largest economy posted strong trade data for November.

Economic Data 

On a year-over-year basis, exports increased at an impressive pace in November. It grew 12.3% in November compared with 6.9% in October. It also surpassed analyst expectations of 5% increase. Moreover, imports increased 17.7% compared with expectations of 11.3%. This eased concerns about weakening demand.

China’s industrial output grew 6.2% year over year in October compared with 6.6% in September, and below Reuters forecast of 6.3%. China’s production curbs to lower pollution have affected energy and pollution-intensive companies and compounded cost woes.

Economic Environment

China’s National Bureau of Statistics said that the country’s GDP grew 6.8% year over year in the third quarter compared with 6.9% in the second quarter. Consumer price index increased 1.9% year over year in October compared with 1.6% in September, and came in above expectations of 1.8%. However, it is still way behind China’s target of 3%.

Geopolitical Risks

China is also subject to geopolitical risks as Asian markets suffer from massive volatility due to North Korea’s actions. Last month, North Korea launched a Hwasong-15 missile with improved technology that flew over Japan, per Korean Central News Agency (KCNA). Per United States Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, this missile flew higher than the missiles fired earlier.

Let us now discuss a few ETFs focused on providing exposure to the Chinese economy (see all Asia-Pacific Emerging ETFs here).

iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI – Free Report)

This fund seeks to provide exposure to Chinese equities, serving as a pure play on the economy.

It has AUM of $3.6 billion and is a relatively expensive bet as it charges a fee of 74 basis points a year. From a sector look, Financials, Energy and Information Technology are the top three allocations of the fund, with 49.1%, 11.0% and 10.6% exposure, respectively (as of Dec 8, 2017). From an individual holding perspective, Tencent Holdings Ltd, China Construction Bank Corp and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China are the top three allocations of the fund, with 10.6%, 8.6% and 7.5% exposure, respectively (as of Dec 8, 2017). The fund has returned 29.6% year to date and 24.4% in a year (as of Dec 8, 2017). FXI currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 (Hold) with a Medium risk outlook.

iShares MSCI China ETF (MCHI – Free Report)

This ETF is another such option to play the BRIC nation.

It has AUM of $2.6 billion and charges a fee of 64 basis points a year. From a sector look, Information Technology, Financials and Consumer Discretionary are the top three allocations of the fund, with 42%, 22.7% and 9.2% exposure, respectively (as of Dec 8, 2017). From an individual holding perspective, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Alibaba Group Holding ADR and China Construction Bank Corp are the top three allocations of the fund, with 18.4%, 13.1% and 4.6% exposure, respectively (as of Dec 8, 2017). The fund has returned 44.6% year to date and 41.2% in a year (as of Dec 8, 2017). MCHI currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook.

SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC – Free Report)

This fund has AUM of $1.1 billion and charges a fee of 59 basis points a year. From a sector look, Information Technology, Financials and Consumer Discretionary are the top three allocations of the fund, with 37%, 22.4% and 10.4% exposure, respectively (as of Dec 7, 2017). From an individual holding perspective, Tencent Holdings Ltd, Alibaba Group Holding ADR and China Construction Bank Corporation are the top three allocations of the fund, with 15%, 11.2%, and 5.1% exposure, respectively (as of Dec 7, 2017). The fund has returned 44.3% year to date and 40.2% in a year (as of Dec 8, 2017). GXC currently has a Zacks ETF Rank #3 with a Medium risk outlook.

The iShares China Large-Cap ETF (FXI) was unchanged in premarket trading Tuesday. Year-to-date, FXI has gained 32.91%, versus a 20.24% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

FXI currently has an ETF Daily News SMART Grade of A (Strong Buy), and is ranked #1 of 35 ETFs in the China Equities ETFs category.


This article is brought to you courtesy of Zacks Research.


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