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Those born in the 1960s and 1970s surely remember the 1980s when Japan's economy rose to global prominence, showing the world that at least at that time, Japan truly was the land of the rising sun.
The Asian financial crisis struck in the late 1990s, but that even only temporarily chased Western investors away from the continent. Caution would give way to ebullience earlier this century as investors became enamored by the Chinese and Indian growth stories.
Flush with statistics about that pair representing two of the fastest growing economies in the world and that one or both would one day pass the U.S. in terms of economic heft, investors were once again seduced by Asian opportunities.
Renewed appetite for Asian exposure coincided with another boom, that of the exchange-traded fund (ETF) industry. As the Chinese and Indian economies became juggernauts, ETF sponsors have met investor demand for exposure to these countries coming up with everything from ETFs focused on Chinese technology companies to Indian small-caps.
ETF issuers did not stop there. As investors clamored for ways to access other Asian markets, ETF sponsors obliged.
In other words, the Chinese and Indian growth stories gave way to the burgeoning economies of Indonesia, Thailand and others. Since the March 2009 market bottom, the iShares MSCI Thailand Investable Market Index Fund (NYSE: THD) and the Market Vectors Indonesia ETF (NYSE: IDX) have been two of the best performing ETFs of any kind.
Those funds are still performing well, but a case can be made there is a new sheriff on the Asian investment block.