Ukraine Crisis

March 14, 2014

As geopolitical tensions peak, these ETFs will be impacted the most.

Ukraine Crisis v2

  • On Sunday, Crimea will hold a referendum on annexing the region to Russia; U.S. and Germany have threatened sanctions if this happens.
  • The Market Vectors Russia ETF (RSX | C-64) is down 27 percent YTD.
  • An escalation could spell trouble regionally: The iShares Emerging Eastern Europe ETF (ESR | C-70) is down 22 percent YTD.
  • The iShares MSCI Poland ETF (EPOL | C-85) could be in play should the situation expand beyond Crimea and Ukraine, as Poland shares a border with Ukraine.
  • War, or an escalation toward it, could spur a risk-off move, which could cause broad pullbacks in emerging markets: The iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ETF (EEM | B-100) is down 8.6 percent YTD.
  • Gold would be a likely benefactor of a broad risk-off move: The SPDR Gold ETF (GLD | A-100) is up 12 percent YTD.
  • For the risk-inclined: The Direxion Daily Russia Bear 3x ETF (RUSS) is up 128 percent YTD.
  • In an attempt to stem the flight of capital, the Russian Central Bank hiked interest rates 1.50 percent (the most since 1998) on March 3. Despite the dramatic intervention, the ruble continues to fall.
  • Since the crisis erupted, foreign capital has fled Russia, which has caused the ruble to decline 10 percent against the dollar so far this year.
  • The yield on 10-year Russian debt has spiked to 9.4 percent. The following ETFs all have significant allocations to Russian debt: (EMB | B-24), (ELD | B), (EMLC | C-57), (HYEM | C), (EMHY | C), (EBND | C-79), (VWOB), (PFEM | D-58).


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