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How Did EWJ Return 8% in 2015?

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Jan. 4 2016, Updated 10:06 a.m. ET

EWJ’s performance in 2015

The iShares MSCI Japan ETF (EWJ) returned 8% in 2015. EWJ’s positive movement was driven by some decent Japanese economic data. Japan’s industrial output was positive in October 2015. Inflation improved in the region in August and September 2015.

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Revival in the economy

Despite a slowdown in energy prices, inflation came out with an improved figure. However, it was below the BoJ’s (Bank of Japan) 2% target. The BoJ’s QE (quantitative easing) program, weakened yen, and investment in ETFs helped the country’s economy. Now, the country is moving away from 20 years of stagnation. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe took charge in December 2012. He implemented a new model to revive the economy. He left the outdated model behind. This should be the focus point for investors for choosing Japan as an attractive investment destination.

Performance of different Japanese companies

Different Japanese companies like Toyota Motor (TM), Honda Motor (HMC), and Sony (SNE) returned -1%, 8%, and 20%, respectively, in 2015. The positive performance indicated that various companies’ sales growth rose in 2015.

Other global ETFs

The SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY), the SPDR Euro Stoxx 50 ETF (FEZ), and the iShares MSCI Emerging Markets (EEM) returned -1%, -4%, and -17%, respectively, in 2015. However, EWJ provided a positive performance of 8% in 2015. This shows that the Japanese ETF outperformed other global market ETFs in 2015.

In the next part of this series, we’ll discuss the performance EWJ’s various industries on December 31, 2015.

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