There was a recently a Good article from Tom Lydon at ETF Trends detailing some of the International Bond ETFs on the market. I normally like international bond exposure as a source of diversification, so to show the diversification effects I went to Assetcorrelation.com, which is a free website. I compared the 4 international bond ETFs/closed end funds Lydon mentions in his article (BWX, BWZ, JGT, and WIP) to SPY (the S&P 500 ETF), EFA (the EAFE, or international equity ETF) and IEF (7-10 US Treasury ETF).
IEF, the US Treasury ETF, still showed signficantly lower correlation to SPY and EFA then the international bond ETFs. During the 'panic' of 2008, investors fled to treasuries while everything else dropped like a rock. Thus, investors diversified in US Treasuries helped cushion any blow to the rest of their portfolio. In addition, a moving average system like the one's tracked at Scott's Investments would have helped cushion additional drawdowns to one's equity portfolio.
The problem with the backtest is that data for one of the ETFs, BWZ, only goes back to 1/30/09. Thus, it is a relatively short period to test correlation. I ran a second correlation matrix eliminating BWZ from the list. That matrix goes back to 3/19/08, when WIP started trading. This second test shows less correlation between SPY/EFA and the international bond ETFs. JGT, a closed-end fund, appears to be the most correlated to SPY and EFA among the three. However, IEF still has the lowest correlation to SPY/EFA and is significantly less correlated to the pair then the international bond ETFs.
The results back to 1/30/09:
Custom Correlation Matrix
The following table shows return correlations between the assets you entered for the past 224 days.
|S&P Dep Receipts||SPY||49.8%||1.8%|
|Ishares Msci Eafe||EFA||0.93||81.5%||2.1%|
|Spdr Barclay Intl||BWX||0.33||0.47||0.24||24.5%||0.7%|
|Spdr Barclay Tsy||BWZ||0.36||0.51||0.12||0.72||24.2%||0.7%|
|Nuveen Mul Cur St||JGT||0.51||0.54||-0.13||0.18||0.35||63.0%||1.1%|
|Spdr Db Int Gov B||WIP||0.45||0.58||0.11||0.70||0.70||0.33||39.0%||0.8%|
WIP only has a stock history since 2008-03-19. Shortening period accordingly.
Custom Correlation Matrix
The following table shows return correlations between the assets you entered for the past 541 days.
|S&P Dep Receipts||SPY||-11.5%||2.4%|
|Ishares Msci Eafe||EFA||0.94||-12.1%||2.8%|
|Spdr Barclay Intl||BWX||0.13||0.26||0.25||2.0%||0.9%|
|Nuveen Mul Cur St||JGT||0.62||0.60||-0.24||0.25||8.5%||1.9%|
|Spdr Db Int Gov B||WIP||0.28||0.38||0.04||0.64||0.38||-4.0%||1.1%|
Disclosure: No Disclosures