Foreign Bonds Bounced Back Last Week

Fixed-income markets in developed and emerging nations topped the winners list last week for the major asset classes, based on a set of exchange-traded products. The gains mark the second week of flat to higher prices after two months of a downtrend for offshore bonds.

The SPDR Bloomberg Barclays International Treasury Bond (BWX) was the strongest performer for the five trading days through Nov. 17. The ETF increased 1.1%, followed by a 0.9% rise for last week’s second-strongest performer: VanEck Vectors JP Morgan Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond (EMLC).

A tailwind for foreign bonds is the pullback in the US dollar over the past two weeks. The US Dollar Index eased for a second week in trading through Nov. 17 — the first back-to-back weekly losses since July.

The softest corner of global markets last week: broadly defined commodities. The iPath Bloomberg Commodity (DJP) slumped 0.7%, its first weekly decline since mid-October.

For the one-year trend, all the major asset classes are currently posting gains. The top performer: equities in emerging markets. Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets (VWO) is up a strong 29.7% for the 12 months through Nov. 17.

Meanwhile, inflation-indexed Treasuries are in last place for the 12-month change. The total return for the iShares TIPS (TIPS) is a thin 2.3% as of Friday’s close vs. the year-earlier price.

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