Analyse/Lyxor UCITS ETF MSCI AC Asia-Pacific ex Japan

Dieser ETF ist für Anleger geeignet, die weiter auf die beiden Lokomotiven des asiatisch-pazifischen Raums setzen wollen: China und Australien. Auf Einzeltitelebene ist dieser ETF nicht stark konzentriert.

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Rolle im Portfolio

The fund provides exposure to large-cap and mid-cap stocks within many of the developing and developed markets of Asia, outside of Japan. Many of the component countries have seen their importance on the global stage rise dramatically in recent years, China being the most prominent example. The Chinese economy now ranks third in the world, behind only Europe and the United States.

The MSCI AC Asia Pac ex-Japan Index focuses heavily on the financial sector, which accounts for more than a third of its total weighting. The index has been quite volatile, with an annualised standard deviation of 22.0% since 1999 versus 15.5% for the S&P 500 and 19.3% for the MSCI Europe. But the MSCI AC Asia Pac ex-Japan has been less erratic than the equity benchmarks tracking the individual countries that make up the biggest parts of the index. And it has shown some diversification benefit, with return correlations to the S&P 500 of 78% and the MSCI Europe Index of 81% over the same time frame.

Fundamentale Analyse

Although the MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index covers many countries, Australia and China have the largest influence, together accounting for almost half of the index’s weighting.

Thanks to its vast supply of natural resources, Australia’s economy has consistently expanded, averaging 3.5% GDP growth per year for the last twenty years. A mining boom in the West together with a bumper grain harvest in 2013 only reinforced consistent economic growth. China has been the main driver of Australia’s commodity exports, due to a growing demand for resources to aid China’s investment in national infrastructure.

Despite its upwardly mobile population, China no longer posts the double-digit numbers of the last decade, but its GDP growth is still noteworthy, reaching 7.7% in both 2012 and 2013.

China has done well as the manufacturer of the world, but in turn its growth relies on consistent demand from developed markets. As the financial crisis showed, demand from the West greatly impacts China’s economy, and reduced aggregate demand has taken a long-term toll on the manufacturing industry. China’s Purchasing Manager Index (PMI), which indicates the strength of the manufacturing sector, fell from 55 in the mid-2000s to nearly 40 in 2008. After a brief rebound in 2009, it has remained around 50 since mid-2013, which is considered subpar.

The government has recognised the need for a more balanced economy, adopting reforms intended to increase domestic consumption and reduce dependence on fixed investments and exports. Already, household consumption accounted for 37% of GDP in 2013. The transition, however, will be gradual, not least because of the slow speed of reforms.

At the 2013 Plenum, the Chinese Communist Party’s economic planning meeting held every five years, President Xi Jinping already hinted at plans to allow for greater market-driven growth. The People’s Bank of China also announced banks could set prime lending rates, and the government launched the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone which will offer full currency convertibility of the renminbi. Both moves highlight the gradual liberalisation of China’s monetary and economic policy, but all the while China’s leadership has asserted it remains in control of the reforms and continues to keep tight control over the renminbi.

An area of concern, however, is China’s housing market, which has rapidly ballooned and suggests a possible bubble. A correction in the housing market could hurt the financial sector, as real estate is typically used as collateral for bank loans.

Across the East China Sea, South Korea’s economy has also grown dramatically in the past few decades. Although still classified as an emerging market by MSCI, many consider South Korea a developed country. Much of the private sector growth has been driven by large conglomerates--such as Samsung, LG and Hyundai--but corporate governance concerns have dogged them as a result of their family-run structure. South Korea’s growth depends heavily on China, its largest market for exports.


The MSCI AC Asia Pacific ex-Japan Index is a free-float market capitalisation-weighted index currently consisting of 683 constituents across 12 countries: Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Thailand. The index covers approximately 85% of the market capitalisation of these markets. New entrants must pass minimum requirements for liquidity and length of trading history. It is reviewed quarterly, and rebalanced semi-annually with new size cut-offs calculated. The index’s top country weights are Australia (24-26%), China (17-19%), South Korea (14-16%), Taiwan (10-12%) and Hong Kong (8-10%). Financials is by far the largest industry weighting (34-36%), followed by information technology (14-16%), materials (8-10%), consumer discretionary (7-9%) and industrials (7-9%). There is limited portfolio concentration, with the top 10 names making up about 23% of the total. The top individual securities in the index at the end of February were Samsung Electronics (3-4%), BHP Billiton (2-3%) and Commonwealth Bank of Australia (2-3%).


The fund uses synthetic replication to provide exposure to the underlying benchmark, entering an unfunded swap transaction with parent bank Societe Generale. The fund uses investors’ cash to buy a substitute basket of securities, the performance of which is exchanged for the performance of the index. Lyxor provides full transparency on the components of the substitute basket, which is made up mainly of European large cap equities, with a minority of US blue chips. The fund aims to maintain zero counterparty exposure by reviewing the swap on a daily basis and resetting whenever its value becomes positive. At the time of writing, the substitute basket was valued at 99.95% of the net asset value of the fund indicating there is a liability due from the swap counterparty to the fund. The fund’s holdings, which are monitored daily by Lyxor’s asset manager, are held in a segregated account at Lyxor’s custodian, Societe Generale Security Services. Under the terms of the swap, the counterparty agrees to provide the fund with exposure to the total return of the underlying index, net of any associated taxes, costs, or fees. The fund is domiciled in France and has the euro as its base currency. The fund does not engage in securities lending activity. At the time of this writing, the fund had assets of €316 million.


The fund’s total expense ratio (TER) is 0.60%, which is pricier than some of the alternatives offering exposure to Asia ex-Japan equities. Other costs potentially borne by the unitholder but not included in the TER include swap fees, and bid-ask spreads and brokerage fees when buy and sell orders are placed for ETF shares.


To gain exposure to equities in the Asia ex-Japan region, there are a few choices, albeit referencing different underlying indices and country exposures. Possible alternatives include Amundi ETF MSCI Pacific ex-Japan, iShares MSCI AC Far East ex Japan, db x-trackers MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan, UBS-ETF MSCI Pacific (ex-Japan), and HSBC MSCI Pacific ex-Japan. The HSBC fund has the lowest TER at 0.40%.


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Über den Autor

Morningstar ETF Analysts  research hundreds of ETFs available to European investors. The Morningstar Rating for ETFs is based on a risk-adjusted performance measure