Best international ETFs for 2022

by Ann deBruyn

There is once again a wide variety of international ETFs on our best-of list, with some options covering a broad swath of global markets and others focusing on just emerging markets: both including and excluding China. A fund like XAW, which holds six iShares funds and covers the entire world except for Canada, is a great all-in-one style fund you can use to cover all your bases.

When it comes to emerging markets, you’ll need to ask yourself a question: Will China outpace other markets including the U.S. and Canada over the long term? “More often than not,” says Seed. “A bet on international markets and emerging markets is usually a bet on China’s growth. Even back in 2020, China remained the world’s second-largest economy.”

This year, our panellists added three new All-Star funds to the international category: all of them in Emerging Markets: XEC, ZEM and EMXC. The latter is U.S. listed. [Again, see accompanying chart for full fund names.] XEC and ZEM, says Felix, go well with some of the other names on the list. “XEC compliments XEF while VEE and XEF disagree on South Korea,” he notes. “ZEM does not extend to small caps, but it does hold securities directly, as opposed to holding a U.S.-listed ETF, which is good for withholding tax costs.” Rebetez suggested EMXC because it excludes China, just as its formal name suggests: iShares MSCI Emerging Markets ex China ETF. Given all that’s going on in the world today, too much exposure to China could cause problems for portfolios. “All is not well with globalization and we might have a problem, not just with Russia, but possibly with China, too.”

Best international ETFs for 2022

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This article was originally published in 2012 and is updated annually (most recently on May 25, 2022).