NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Two weeks ago, China hiked interest rates for the first time in three years. Nobody had seen it coming. Up to that moment, investors believed that the country would not upset the world's apple cart, even with its hot-running 9%- to- 10% GDP.
Yet they did indeed raise rates on Oct. 19. The People's Bank probably felt that with assets 30% higher than the summertime lows, it was time to cool the speculative appreciation of assets. (How ironic is it that China's robust growth requires rate hikes, whereas anemic U.S. growth means a second round of quantitative easing?)
The implications of Chinese monetary tightening are (and were) straight-forward. Resource-related companies and resource-rich countries might not fare as well if they ship less materials to the mainland. Not surprisingly, shares of Brazil (EWZ), South Africa (EZA) and Australia (EWA) tumbled on Oct. 19.
Two weeks later, on Oct. 11, we can see why China raised rates in the first place. The country's manufacturing growth actually accelerated in October. The recent data serves to confirm that the People's Bank has its eye on the ball.For investors, however, the correct call is a bit more challenging; specifically, manufacturing success in China may or may not be beneficial to materials exporters over the next few months. After all, doesn't the acceleration in manufacturing increase the odds of additional China rate hikes? It follows that I am less inclined to select China's more obvious trading partners right now. I am more inclined to select Chinese industrial firms themselves as well as non-resource-related trading partners. Here are 3 ETFs that benefit from manufacturing growth in China, even with the uncertainty surrounding future rate hikes: 1. iShares MSCI Singapore (EWS). One look at this fund's holdings tells you most of what you need to know. The market-cap weighted index tracked by EWS has a 10% weighting in Oversea-China Banking Corporation. OCBC Bank is the second largest bank in Southeast Asia and was one of the only foreign banks with a branch presence in China in the 1950s, fostering brand name loyalty. Singaporean companies have invested tens of billions in China's Guangdong, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces, particularly in telecommunications and electronic equipment manufacturing. Singapore Telecom is a top 10 holding. 2. iShares Taiwan (EWT). When I lived in Taiwan in the 1980s, a military take-over by China may have seemed remote, but hardly out of the realm of possibility.