NEW YORK ( ETF Digest) -- Excluding Japan, the area formerly known as the Asian Tiger countries have never been more important. These countries are blessed with excellent demographics and natural resources. Some are industrial powers like Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea while others offer good commodity plays in addition like Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia. But, as with most investing schemes from our view, timing is everything.
Japan certainly is in decline. Its debt burdens combined with poor demographics suggest a country that has more long-term problems than the eurozone currently. For them, these issues are becoming better known throughout the investment world. Clearly most know the markets there have been in a bear market since the 1990 peak with the exception of a few impressive bear market rallies. Nevertheless, large and even small Japanese companies have become multinational in scope and highly dependent on exports. Most are diversified and may do well given their global exposure away from domestic bear markets or conditions.The former Asian Tiger markets have more volatility (beta) compared with other more established markets. When markets and global economies are stronger, these markets generally will outperform, and conversely when global economies are weak they will underperform. The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam are blessed with both good demographics (younger population) and are rich in natural resources. Longer term, these economies could decouple from other markets given their own domestic demand and needs.Lastly, these countries particularly benefit from economic growth and demand for resources from China. When China grows, so too do these countries and vice versa.In this sector, there really are only 10 ETFs worth evaluating now. But as these economies grow, no doubt many ETF offerings will expand into various subsectors within each country beginning with small-caps and then moving on to others: consumer, financial, natural resources and so forth. We feature a technical view of conditions from monthly chart views. Simplistically, we recommend longer-term investors stay on the right side of the 12-month simple moving average. When prices are above the moving average, stay long, and when below remain in cash or short. Some more interested in a fundamental approach may not care so much about technical issues preferring instead to buy when prices are perceived as low and sell for other reasons when high; but, this is not our approach. Premium members to the ETF Digest receive added signals when markets become extended such as DeMark triggers to exit overbought/oversold conditions.