Best and Worst: Unmade in Korea: Asian funds

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The Independent Online
POLITICAL and economic uncertainty in Korea has continued to take its toll on funds invested in the Far East, particularly those targeted entirely on South Korea.

The country has had the worst-performing economy in the Far East recently, but Mike Ryder-Richardson, marketing manager of S&P, which runs the bottom-placed fund, remains optimistic. 'Recovery is on its way. The market has been below 600 and now it has risen to 800,' he said.

The manager of Baillie Gifford's Pacific fund says it is towards the bottom of the table because it is a conservatively managed fund in a higher-risk region. The fund is invested in Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia among others.

Fidelity's top-performing fund is invested in a wider array of Far Eastern economies, including that of Thailand. But the company puts the fund's success down to having nearly half its portfolio invested in Malaysia, which over the past year had one of the region's best performing economies.

Another good performer has been Thornton's Little Dragons fund, which has exposure to smaller and medium- sized companies and has an aggressive policy on asset allocation. This fund has considerably outperformed Thornton's Tiger fund, which is 10th from the bottom and is showing a one-year rise of about 50 per cent. The Tiger fund has a more conservative investment policy and mainly takes stakes in blue- chip companies.

----------------------------------------------------------------- FAR EAST UNIT TRUSTS (Excluding Japan) ----------------------------------------------------------------- The best pounds 1 Fidelity Asean . . . . . . . . . 205.02 2 NM Singapore & Malaysian . . . . 184.14 3 Prov Capitol Thailand . . . . . .181.64 4 Thornton Little Dragons . . . . .179.83 5 Invesco Singapore Asean . . . . .178.59 The worst 16 BG Pacific . . . . . . . . . . .145.40 17 PC CAM Pacific . . . . . . . . .133.01 18 GT Korean Securities . . . . . .126.37 19 Baring Korea . . . . . . . . . .117.86 20 S&P Korea . . . . . . . . . . . 104.34 ----------------------------------------------------------------- The table shows the value of pounds 100 invested over one year to 15 November on an offer-to-bid basis, with net income reinvested. ----------------------------------------------------------------- Source: Micropal -----------------------------------------------------------------

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