Van Eck became the latest firm to offer a country specific ETF with the August 14 launch of its Market Vectors Vietnam ETF (NYSE Arca: VNM). There are about 40 country -specific ETFs available in the U.S. with many of them focusing on Asian economies, including, according to Standard & Poor's, 10 tracking Japanese stocks and six focused on China.
Vietnam seems a likely candidate to join the group. It has a well-educated population of 90 million, nearly half of whom are under 25, and is poised for strong economic growth. According to Van Eck it also offers a lower cost structure than some of its neighbors making it attractive to foreign investors.
The new ETF is tied to Market Vectors Vietnam Index (MVVNM) and seeks to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of that index, which is composed primarily of companies domiciled and listed on an exchange in Vietnam and which generate at least 50% of their revenues from that country.
Based on ETF figures for July posted on statestreetspdrs.com, at month's end there were 751 ETFs in the U.S. with assets totaling approximately $640 billion. Total ETF assets rose 8% ($47.4 billion) during the month. International ETFs saw the largest gains with an increase of $16.6 billion, or 12.6% to $149,191 billion.