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Where U.S. ETF Investors Invest Overseas

Mon, Nov 26, 3:15 PM ET, by Michael Johnston

As the ETF industry has grown in recent years, the expansion has allowed U.S. investors to reach beyond their borders and establish positions in international markets of all shapes and sizes. As the growth prospects for the U.S. economy have gradually diminished, more and more investors have shed the “home country bias” that called for huge allocations to U.S. stocks and started beefing up their international allocations [ETFdb Pro members can see the Ex-U.S. ETFdb Portfolio; sign up for a free 7-day trial for full access].

While the most popular international stock ETFs are regional products that include multiple economies–such as the MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (VWO, A+) or MSCI EAFE ETF (EFA, A+)–there are also a number on individual country funds that target specific markets. There are billions of dollars invested in these single country ETFs, ranging from China to Egypt to Turkey.

Below is a chart that shows assets of single-country ETFs available to U.S. investors. The data, shown in thousands of dollars, excludes U.S.-focused ETFs as well as ETFs that hold stocks from multiple countries [for more ETF insights, sign up for the free ETFdb newsletter]:

 

Surprising Findings

Among the interesting findings revealed from the data above:

  • Brazil ETFs, with about $9.5 billion, have higher assets than even China ETFs
  • U.S. investors looking for European exposure clearly gravitate towards Germany, which has about $3.5 billion
  • Our neighbors to the north receive quite a bit of interest, with more than $4 billion invested in Canada ETFs
  • Among the overlooked countries are Belgium ($42 million), Finland ($2 million), and Ireland ($12 million)

Disclosure: No positions at time of writing.


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