ProShares announced Thursday the launch of the first U.S.-based ETF focused on sovereign and sub-sovereign debt from Germany, which has the world’s third-largest public debt market and is widely recognized for its fiscal strength.

The ProShares German Sovereign/Sub-Sovereign ETF (GGOV) seeks to match the performance of Markit iBoxx EUR Germany Sovereign & Sub-Sovereign Liquid Index, before fees and expenses.

Michael L. Sapir (left), chairman and CEO of ProShare Advisors LLC, ProShares’ investment advisor, said in a statement, “Many investors have fixed-income portfolios concentrated in high-credit-quality U.S. bonds. This ETF can help these investors manage risk by adding diversification through international bond exposure.”

GGOV’s benchmark includes only investment-grade debt, the majority of which currently has the highest rating from Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s and Fitch. The benchmark seeks to track the returns of euro-denominated general obligation bonds issued by the Federal Republic of Germany, state governments of Germany, government agencies or institutions, and entities that are owned or guaranteed by German federal or state governments.

ProShares’ ETF offerings include 129 funds totaling nearly $23 billion at the end of 2011, including the largest family of geared (leveraged and inverse) ETFs. ProShare Advisors and ProShare Capital Management are affiliated with ProFund Advisors, which was founded in 1997. Together, they manage more than $26 billion in ETF and mutual fund assets.