6 Emerging Market Bond ETFs With Attractive Yields

by: Tom Lydon

With attractive growth prospects and improving credit in the developing world, emerging market sovereign debt related exchange traded funds have garnered a lot of attention as investors seek yield generating assets.

Overall, emerging market funds attracted $1.7 billion in assets over the past week, up from $1.1 billion the previous week, with bond inflows hitting a 35-week high, reports Erin McCarthy for the Wall Street Journal.

Emerging market bond funds denominated in major currencies, like the U.S. dollar, brought in $966 million. Local-currency bond funds, which are denominated in the issuing country's local currency, saw their highest inflows in over a year, adding $673 million in assets, according to EPFR Global.

"Emerging markets are starting to look relatively good again because their growth rates are that bit higher, and a lot of them have that bit more room to do something to help their economies," Cameron Brandt, EPFR director of research, said in the article.

With benchmark 10-year Treasury yields hovering around 1.65%, investors have included more emerging market bond assets. Luz Padilla, a portfolio manager for the DoubleLine emerging markets fixed- income fund, even believes investors are considering emerging market bonds as a "true substitute" for investment-grade bonds, Reuters reports.

"The emerging-market story is more than just about 'yield,'" David Robbins, portfolio manager for TCW Emerging Markets strategies, said in the Reuters article. "It is a long-term credit improvement story."

Emerging market assets in general have been a hot draw. On the equities side, emerging market equity funds garnered $828 million, which suggests greater investor confidence and increasing risk appetite. For instance, the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (NYSEARCA:EEM) has brought in $1.6 billion and Vanguard MSCI Emerging Markets (NYSEARCA:VWO) added $11.5 billion in new assets year-to-date, according to IndexUniverse.

Investors can choose from the U.S. dollar-denominated emerging market bond funds.

  • iShares JPMorgan USD Emerging Markets Bond Fund (NYSEARCA:EMB): 3.45% 30-day SEC yield
  • PowerShares Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PCY): 4.18% 30-day SEC yield

Moreover, investors can also take a look at local currency denominated ETFs. If the U.S. dollar begins to appreciate, local currency bond funds may see lower returns.

  • WisdomTree Emerging Markets Local Debt Fund (NYSEARCA:ELD): 3.96% 30-day SEC yield
  • Market Vectors Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:EMLC): 5.14% 30-day SEC yield
  • SPDR Barclays Capital Emerging Markets Local Bond ETF (NYSEARCA:EBND): 4.71% 30-day SEC yield
  • iShares Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond Fund (NYSEARCA:LEMB): 4.10% 30-day SEC yield

Max Chen contributed to this article.

Full disclosure: Tom Lydon's clients own EMB.

Disclosure: I am long EMB. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.