Barclays Global Investors to Introduce South Africa, China ETFs

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San Francisco-based Barclays Global Investors continues to beef up its lineup of international iShares with two new exchange-traded funds tracking the broad South African and Chinese markets.

The new iShares MSCI South Africa (EZA) began trading today on the American Stock Exchange, home to most domestic ETFs. The fund's expense ratio is 0.99%, while the average emerging markets fund charges 2.12%. Of course, ETFs also carry trading commissions.

"With the iShares MSCI South Africa, iShares now offers investors access to 70% of the emerging market capitalization as covered by [index provider] Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI)," said Lee Kranefuss, head of BGI's individual investor business.

South Africa is the second-largest emerging market country after Korea in terms of market capitalization.

Year of the Ram

BGI has also filed to launch an iShares tied to the FTSE/Xinhua Hong Kong China 25 index. The float-weighted benchmark holds the largest, most liquid Chinese stocks available to foreign investors.

"There is strong demand to bring to market a cost-effective, tax efficient way for investors to gain access to the largest, most liquid Chinese securities," said Kranefuss in a statement.