NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As fear continues to take its toll on Wall Street, U.S. debt continues to balloon and economic indicators continue to disappoint, investors may want to consider the bonds of low-debt nations.U.S. debt is at alarming levels. It's currently north of $13 trillion and equals nearly 89% of GDP. As for the future, the International Monetary Fund expects the debt-to-GDP ratio to soar north of 100% at current spending levels. Economic indicators suggest the economy is not in a sustainable recovery mode. New manufacturing orders are down, construction spending is down, consumer confidence is down and jobless claims are up. Against this background, the likelihood is high that government spending will remain elevated. Investors looking to steer clear of the fragile U.S. economy and its ballooning debt might consider nations that are less leveraged. Some notable examples are Canada, which has a debt-to-GDP ratio of 32%; Norway, which is actually a net creditor and runs a budget surplus; Brazil, which is rich in natural resources and implements tight control over its monetary instruments, enabling the nation to maintain relatively low debt ratios; and Russia, which has managed its debt relatively well and is expected to have a debt-to-GDP ratio of around 9%. Some easy ways to gain access to the bonds of these nations include the following: iShares JP Morgan USD Emerging Markets Bond ( EMB), which holds the debt of both Russia and Brazil. EMB boasts a yield of 5.36% and closed at $103.25 on Thursday. PowerShares Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt ( PCY), which also gives exposure to Russian and Brazilian debt. PCY boasts a yield of 6.37% and closed at $26.09 on Thursday. iShares S&P/Citi 1-3 Yr International Treasury Bond ( ISHG), which focuses on the debt of developed nations and gives exposure to the debt of both Canada and Norway. ISHG has a yield of 1.23% and closed at $96.94 on Thursday. When investing in these international bond ETFs it is important to consider the inherent risks that are involved. A good way to mitigate these risks is through the use of an exit strategy that identifies specific price points at which downward price pressure is likely to be seen.
According to the latest data at www.SmartStops.net, the price points are as follows: EMB at $102.65; PCY at $25.89; ISHG at $94.21. These price points change on a daily basis and are reflective of market volatility. -- Written by Kevin Grewal in Houston. At the time of publication, Grewal was long PCY.
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