Sometimes, political turmoil is a gift for investors. Case in point: The ouster last Friday of South Korea's corrupt president is a positive development for the country's economy.
South Korea's main opposition Democratic United Party is on the cusp of reclaiming the presidency, with the historic court ruling on Friday that unseated its conservative rival President Park Geun-hye. Park had been impeached in a corruption scandal involving "chaebol," the family-run conglomerates that dominate Korea's economy.
The immediate result of Friday's ruling was a 1.6% jump that day of the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF (EWY - Get Report) , which serves as a proxy for the South Korean economy. Year to date, EWY is up 9.6%. Below, we explain why EWY has plenty of upside left.
The defenestration of South Korea's disgraced president is transforming the geopolitical equation in East Asia. The country's reliability as an American ally and North Korea's recent missile tests will top the agenda as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson visits the region this week, with meetings planned in Seoul, Beijing and Tokyo.
Democratic United Party presidential hopeful Moon Jae-in is a human rights lawyer striving to reclaim power in elections scheduled for May. Moon has promised to implement long-belated reforms in Asia's fourth-biggest economy.
The Trump administration hasn't publicly commented about Park's removal, but it's a likely bet that Trump's "America First" stance will create a power vacuum in this strategically vital area, which will play out to South Korea's favor. The extrication of the scandal-tainted Korean president is a tailwind for the Pacific Rim as a whole.
Meanwhile, Trump's executive order paving the way for abandonment of the Trans-Pacific Partnership will strengthen the hand of China and other Asian countries such as Korea, as they establish their own trade arrangements and lending organizations in the region to supplant those of the West.
The growing number of gadget-loving consumers around the world is another positive trend for South Korea, a prosperous country that rarely gets press coverage unless it involves scandal or North Korean belligerence.
South Korea is a rags-to-riches saga. The country endured devastation during World War II and the Korean War, followed by brutal dictatorship. The country has emerged Phoenix-like as a prosperous and free society.
With an export-dependent economy oriented toward electronics and high technology, South Korea is positioned for sustained long-term growth, but the yakkers on financial television rarely pay this country any attention. Last Friday's much needed political change should raise South Korea's profile and prove a shot in the arm for the country as an investment destination.
The best direct play on South Korea is the iShares MSCI South Korea Capped ETF. This ETF allows you to tap into South Korean growth, with fewer risks than individual Korea-based equities.
With assets of $3.15 billion, the fund mirrors the performance of the MSCI Korea 25/50 Index. EWY's top holdings include Samsung Electronics (SSNLF) , Hyundai Motor (HYMTF) and KB Financial Group (KB - Get Report) . The expense ratio is 0.64%, which is reasonable for its class.
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