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Softer Landing Seen for Chinese Consumers

NEW YORK TheStreet -- The other day the Financial Times gave a rundown of statistics of all the things going right in China, like industrial output up 10% year on year, inflation low at 2% and retail sales were up 14.9%.

The one disappointing number highlighted was exports, which grew at 2.9% versus 11.6% for the same period last year. Perhaps because of the data the Shanghai Composite Index has rallied 6% in the last week after what has previously been a lousy year.

If the recent economic data is the start of better times for Chinese equities, investors wanting to take a clue from the data to establish a position in Chinese equities would probably want to avoid export-related companies. But the retail sales numbers might be making an argument to go back into China via the consumer sector and the Global X Consumer ETF (CHIQ).

At the industry level the fund is heaviest in retail stores at 22% and food companies at 19%. Also featured prominently is the automobile industry with almost 13%. Things like retail and food are very typical for a consumer fund and should offer exposure to companies where there is always demand for the end products regardless of economic conditions.

This could be important if the Chinese so-called hard landing ever materializes. The exposure to automobiles could serve to make the fund a little more sensitive to the economic cycle should demand for new cars suffer a serious decline.

CHIQ has 40 holdings and has an expense ratio of 0.65%. Unlike many consumer sector funds CHIQ has historically not paid much in the way of dividends. In its history the fund paid a 19-cent dividend two years ago and only 6 cents last year amounting to a yield well below 1%. The fund will declare its 2012 dividend toward the end of the year.

There are also funds for other sectors in China but concerns of a hard landing still persist and those other sectors, Global X China Financial ETF ( CHIF), Global X China Industrial ETF (CHII)and Global X China Materials ETF (CHIM) would be more vulnerable to slower growth because demand for products and services from those sectors are usually more aligned with the economy.
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